Gamida Cell signed an investment and option agreement with Novartis Pharma in which Novartis will invest $35 million in Gamida Cell and in return will receive 15% equity and an option to fully acquire Gamida Cell. The option is exercisable for a limited period of time following achievement of certain milestones connected to the development of NiCord®, anticipated to be met during 2015.
Upon exercising the option, Novartis would pay the other shareholders in Gamida Cell cash payments of approximately $165 million. The shareholders will also be entitled to potential future payments which can reach a total of $435 million, depending on certain development and regulatory milestones and on sales of Gamida Cell's products.
Gamida Cell is currently involved in a Phase I/II study of NiCord as an investigational therapeutic treatment for hematological malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. In this study NiCord is being used as the sole stem cell source. NiCord is derived from a single cord blood unit and expanded and enriched with stem cells using Gamida Cell's proprietary NAM technology.
"The investment and option agreement announced today demonstrates Novartis' belief in the potential of Gamida Cell's platform technology, product pipeline, and team,” said Yael Margolin, CEO of Gamida.