Orgenesis acquired MaSTherCell, an emerging pioneer in the industrialization of cell-based therapeutics based in Gosselies, Belgium, as part of the American company’s plan to increase its global presence and capabilities.
The American and the Belgian companies have already been working jointly since last year to scale manufacturing of Orgenesis’ insulin-producing liver cells to fight diabetes. Now, Orgenesis has entered into a share exchange agreement with MaSTherCell and Cell Therapy Holding (collectively “MaSTherCell”) and each of the shareholders of the MaSTherCell.
Vered Caplan, chairperson and CEO of Orgenesis, said: “The acquisition of MaSTherCell creates incremental value for both companies in business-critical ways. First, it allows us to accelerate the transition of our lead product, Autologous Insulin Producing Cells (AIPCs) being developed as a therapeutic for type 1 diabetes, from pre-clinical testing into clinical trials. Second, the acquisition will also allow us to diversify our business model and future product offering.“
Orgenesis is an innovator in the technology of “cellular trans-differentiation”. This process involves re-programming one adult cell type to function like an adult cell of a different type. In the case of AIPCs, developed by Prof. Sarah Ferber at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, the company is transforming a type 1 diabetic patient’s own liver cells into insulin-producing cells. Cellular trans-differentiation is accomplished through a complex biologic process, requiring sophisticated manufacturing technology and capabilities. MaSTherCell has in place a best-in-class combination of the process development capabilities and fully closed and tightly controlled Good Manufacturing Practices systems required to deliver commercial-scale manufacturing for Orgenesis.
Vered Caplan also added: “We are creating a vertically integrated company that will deliver more end-user value and generate a stronger financial position for our overall business. Both businesses will remain operationally independent, but will become strategically aligned in ways that maximize technical, financial and management synergies. As a result of the acquisition, Orgenesis benefits from deeper involvement in the manufacturing process and resulting cost of goods efficiencies, while MaSTherCell benefits by expanding its international presence and by gaining access to public markets and financing for further technology-based investment.”
Cell therapy developments have gained strategic significance in recent years, particularly in the areas of regenerative medicine, ex-vivo gene therapy and immunotherapy of cancer. Research and scientific development in these sectors have seen rapid progress and MaSTherCell has kept pace to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving science.