MaSTherCell was bought out previously just five years ago by Orgenesis, now Catalent has stepped in to acquire the cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for $330m (€299m), when all costs are taken into account.
At the same time the acquisition was made, Catalent revealed that it would launch a public offering of $500m of stock, with the bulk of this going towards the all-cash acquisition of MaSTherCell. The remaining sum generated by the public offering will go towards repaying outstanding borrowings.
In terms of what the cell and gene therapy CDMO will offer Catalent, MaSTherCell possesses a 25,000-square-foot facility in Belgium that provides clinical services, with a commercial scale, 60,000-square-foot space being built adjacent to this site, which is expected to open in 2021.
In addition, the CDMO will add its 32,000-square-foot facility in Texas, US, to Catalent’s network, as the facility goes through validation steps and recruitment prior to beginning offering its services.
Catalent’s CEO, John Chiminski, noted that MaSTherCell's capabilities in autologous and allogeneic cell therapies had proved part of the attraction of arranging the deal, suggesting that “a rising number [are] expected to gain regulatory approval over the coming years.”
The deal is expected to complete in Catalent’s current third quarter, which would see the deal take place prior to March 31.
Cell and gene market heats up
The urgency with which Catalent has moved to secure funding for MaSTherCell reflects the speed at which companies specializing in cell and/or gene therapies are being bought out.
Catalent, itself, secured a $1.2bn deal for Paragon last year, then immediately followed it up with an asset purchase from Novavax.
Rivals in the space have also executed similar takeovers, such as Thermo Fisher acquiring Brammer Bio. While investment firms have noted the speed of development in the area, which has seen the establishment of a $1.1bn cell and gene therapy service provider.
This is all directly related to the burgeoning pipeline of therapies in the cell and gene space, which is creating a capacity bottleneck, as CDMOs struggle to meet the rising demand.