Novartis, the Swiss Acquisition-Giant from Basel, has once again taken bought a small chunk of shares from the Israel biotech scene for only $15M (2.5%), instead of making a final solid purchase. The Jerusalem biotech Gamida Cell, which has a stem-cell therapies for hematological diseases (leukemia and various types of anemia), was underwhelmed a second time by Novartis’ tentative attitude, despite it already owning a 15% stake in the company. So why is it Novartis is so hesitant?
Gamida Cell is a stem-cell therapy specialist from Jerusalem (Israel). Having a broad R&D scope to include cancers (specifically of the blood) and other hematological diseases, their NAM platform for growth of stem-cell grafts has granted them a promising pipeline. The ‘NAM’ platform involves growth of stem cells using a nicotinamide (vitamin B3 based) medium which helps the allogenic stem cell cultures to thrive and not lose their viability over time. This has improved stem-cell graft retention time in vivo for patients,