Can Gamida’s win lure Novartis again?
Gamida Cell claimed a pivotal win yesterday with omidubicel, formerly known as Nicord, a stem cell graft therapy for blood cancers and blood diseases. In a phase III study in 125 patients with high-risk haematologic malignancies, the project resulted in a median time to neutrophil engraftment − the study’s primary endpoint − of 12 days, versus 22 days for those given a standard umbilical cord blood transplant (p<0.001). Engraftment is a measure of how quickly the stem cells are established and begin to make healthy new cells. Shares rallied 37% on the news, adding $55m to the company’s market cap, and a BLA submission is expected in the fourth quarter. The big question is whether Novartis, which owns 15% of Gamida, will be tempted to spend once more; the pharma giant has reportedly twice turned down an option to buy out the company under an agreement that calls for a $165m up-front payment.
|Gamida's relationship with Novartis|
|May 2014||Reports that Novartis pulls out of buying Gamida|
|Aug 2014||Novartis pays $35m for a 15% stake in Gamida with an option to buy the company for $165m up front|
|Jun 2015||Novartis decides not to exercise the buyout option|
|Oct 2015||Novartis invests $5m for an additional 2.5% stake in Gamida|
|Oct 2018||Gamida raises $50m in an IPO; Novartis invests $7.5m and owns 15% of the company, as its second-largest shareholder|