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Osiris sells stem cell business in $100m deal

Authored by James Sheppard

The US based biotechnology company Osiris Therapeutics has announced a $100m deal with Australian biotech Mesoblast for the company to buy its stem cell platform. The deal includes Osiris’s off the shelf stem cell product Prochymal.

The deal which includes $50m in milestone payments will allow Mesoblast to build on its own recent successes. The company recently raised $175m from a private placement of its shares and currently has 4 late stage programs underway for heart failure, Crohn’s disease, orthopaedics and acute graft vs Host Disease (aGvHD). Mesoblast plans to launch a bid for FDA approval in 2014 for its aGvHD product.

Osiris laid claim to a therapeutic breakthrough with Canada’s approval of the first such regenerative medicine treatment and New Zealand quickly followed suit. Osiris was hoping for USA to take the lead on approving the therapeutic however, Osiris’s partner Sanofi dumped the partnership deal it inherited in its Genzyme purchase.

In the deal Osiris receives $20m in upfront payment, $15m in cash on the transfer of assets and then $15m in cash 6 months after the deal is complete. Mesoblast has built in another $50m in milestone payments following clinical and regulatory successes.

With Stem Cell therapy often touted as the major new class of therapeutics the industry has been slow to take on stem cell projects. However, a number of smaller biotechs remain committed to advancing stem cell medicine. With many some promising successes coming from academia industry may want to turn their gaze towards stem cell therapy again.

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