Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) said today it agreed to acquire biobanking business LifebankUSA and the biomaterials program from Celgene Cellular Therapeutics (CCT). The price was not disclosed.
HLI co-founder Robert J. Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., founded LifebankUSA, which focuses on placental and cord blood banking. Its assets include a high-yield method for extracting placental stem cells and related therapeutic programs. They reason that the cord and placental blood and tissue are ideal sources of stem cells and biomaterials from mothers and newborns that can be used for genome sequencing.
Following the closing of the acquisition, HLI said, it plans to start offering a newborn genome sequencing product along with stem cell banking beginning in the second quarter of this year. According to HLI, LifebankUSA’s process yields 60–70% more of the CD34+ stem cells needed for bone marrow and cord blood transplants.
LifebankUSA is one of three core units of CCT, which became part of Celgene in 2003 when the biotech giant acquired Dr. Hariri’s Anthrogenesis, established to commercialize the medical potential of the human placenta. Dr. Hariri and colleagues were the first researchers to discover and characterize pluripotent stem cells from the placenta, then develop exclusive methods for the extraction of those cells.
Also being acquired by HLI from CCT is the biomaterials program, which includes the marketed product Biovance®, a cell matrix used for wound healing.
“This is a unique acquisition that gives HLI the ability to combine the power of stem cells with newborn genome analysis to offer parents new information and potential treatments for their families,” J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., HLI’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.
The acquisition comes less than two years after HLI and LifebankUSA agreed to license, develop, and co-promote PSC-100, a placental stem cell program. HLI will acquire full rights to PSC-100 as part of the deal.
The deal is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. Once that happens, approximately 30 employees of LifebankUSA will join HLI, the buyer said.
In a statement today, Celgene said CCT “remains committed to advancing a pipeline of cell therapy and regenerative medicine products.” Those products include PDA-002, now in clinical trials for diabetic foot ulcers and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and PNK-007 (natural killer or “NK” cells) in phase I trials for AML and multiple myeloma.