Juno Therapeutics announces that it will expand its cellular therapies pipeline with the acquisition of Stage Cell Therapeutics for €52.5 million.
Juno Therapeutics announced on May 11, 2015 that it would expand its cellular therapies pipeline with the acquisition of Stage Cell Therapeutics, a German biotechnology company, for €52.5 million (approximately $59 million). Stage will provide Juno access to transformative cell selection and activation capabilities, as well as other aspects of manufacturing and the supply chain. As part of the acquisition, Juno will be renamed Juno Therapeutics GmbH.
"This important acquisition is driven by our strategy to have best-in-class process development and manufacturing capabilities in support of our goal of developing next-generation CAR and TCR products," said Hans Bishop, CEO of Juno, in a press release.
According to the press release, Stage offers cell isolation and expansion technology platforms “based on fully reversible reagents that enable the advanced isolation and expansion of T cells during the manufacturing process.” Juno made an upfront cash payment to Stage of €52.5 million plus shares of Juno stock equaling the 95% of Stage that was not already owned by Juno. Juno will also award milestone payments to the new company in relation to novel reagents, advanced automation technology, and its clinical pipeline, with payments up to €135 million.
The acquisition pushes Juno to the forefront of CAR T-cell research and development. Combined, the two companies feature more than one dozen projects ranging from preclinical to Phase I/II trials. The number of CAR-T-related projects in the pipeline from the Juno/Stage acquisition surpasses the number in development from competitors Novartis and Cellectis, and makes them one of the largest players in the CAR T-cell space, according to EvaluatePharma’s 2015 report, “Not For the Faint of CAR-T.”