Eterna Therapeutics Inc. has announced the acquisition of the global immuno-oncology platform of Exacis Biotherapeutics.
The acquisition complements Eterna Therapeutics’ core business with a pipeline of allogeneic immuno-oncology products under development for the treatment of hematologic and solid tumors and provides Eterna Therapeutics with an exclusive global license to produce an unlimited number of mRNA-engineered natural killer (NK) and T-cell therapies derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Competitive cancer therapeutics
“We are excited to bring this powerful platform into Eterna. With Exacis’ pipeline of engineered iPSC-derived cell therapy candidates, we believe Eterna is well-positioned to develop more effective, targeted and highly differentiated medicines to treat cancer,” said Matt Angel, chief executive officer and president of Eterna Therapeutics.
“We believe that combining the Exacis and Eterna technologies de-risks our approach and supports a capital-efficient path to develop highly competitive cancer therapeutics.”
Gregory Fiore, president and CEO of Exacis, and member of Eterna Therapeutics’ board of directors, said: “Exacis was started with the goals of improving patient outcomes and experiences as well as increasing access to life-saving treatments. Today’s announcement marks a key milestone on the path to achieving these goals. The Eterna Board and leadership are committed to and have been working toward these same goals, and we believe that this acquisition provides Eterna with the tools required to develop next-generation therapies targeting indications of high unmet need, including blood cancers and solid tumors.”
The technology underlying Exacis’ platform uses mRNA cell reprogramming and mRNA gene editing to create engineered iPSC-derived cells for use in the development of cancer therapies that can target nearly any cancer antigen. In contrast to DNA-based reprogramming and gene editing, the mRNA-based approach does not expose cells to expensive and potentially harmful viruses or DNA vectors. Eterna Therapeutics plans to use Exacis’ platform to develop engineered cell therapies containing genomic edits designed to enhance their performance.
The terms of the acquisition include an upfront payment in shares of Eterna’s common stock, as well as milestone and other potential payments totaling up to $49 million.
About Eterna Therapeutics
Eterna Therapeutics is a life science company headquartered in San Diego committed to realizing the potential of mRNA cell engineering to provide patients with transformational new medicines. Eterna has in-licensed a portfolio of more than 100 patents covering mRNA cell engineering technologies, including for mRNA cell reprogramming, mRNA gene editing, the NoveSlice and UltraSlice gene-editing proteins, and the ToRNAdo mRNA delivery system from Factor Bioscience.