Orgenesis said today it is acquiring MaSTherCell, a cell therapy and regenerative medicine company focused on type 1 diabetes, in a deal designed to increase its global presence and capabilities. Orgenesis will buy all issued and outstanding shares of MaSTherCell in exchange for $24.593 million in shares of the acquiring company’s common stock.

Vered Caplan, Orgenesis’ chairperson and CEO, said the deal will allow his company to speed up development of its lead product, Autologous Insulin Producing Cells (AIPCs) for type 1 diabetes, from preclinical testing into clinical trials, while allowing the company to diversify its business model and future product offerings.

Orgenesis’ cell therapy applies “cellular trans-differentiation,” in which one adult cell type is re-programmed to function as an adult cell of a different type. In the case of AIPCs, the company is transforming a type 1 diabetic patient's own liver cells into insulin-producing cells. The company reasons that the reprogramming can overcome the challenges of donor shortage, cost, and exposure to chronic immunosuppressive therapy associated with islet cell transplantation.

MaSTherCell—short for “Manufacturing Synergies for Therapeutic Cells”—is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) spin-off from Belgium’s Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) that specializes in helping customers bring cell therapy products to market faster.

Orgenesis said MaSTherCell proved to be an attractive acquisition target because of its process development capabilities and fully closed and tightly controlled GMP systems required to deliver commercial-scale manufacturing. Before the acquisition, Orgenesis said, the two companies had already been working together under a strategic manufacturing agreement.

With the acquisition in place, MaSTherCell will not only provide services to Orgenesis, but continue to provide broad CDMO services to other cell-based therapeutic companies worldwide.

“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,” Caplan said. “Both businesses will remain operationally independent, but will become strategically aligned in ways that maximize technical, financial, and management synergies.”

Added MaSTherCell CEO Hugues Bultot: “We will continue to provide for our current clients the same unique services but with a larger geographic reach. By combing our organizations, we will be able to more quickly capitalize on our desires to expand our cell-based therapeutic contract development and manufacturing services internationally.”

Previous articleUnconventional Design Approach Shows Promise for New Herpes Vaccine
Next articleHeart-on-a-Chip Gets Drug Screeners Pumped