Celularity goes public, but with less cash than hoped

It took over 20 years, a trade sale and spin-out, a long-delayed Spac deal and at least one change of focus, but Celularity yesterday achieved its stock market listing. Though this brought in far less cash than had been hoped the market liked what it saw, with the stock closing up 20%. The company is the brainchild of Robert Hariri, who had founded the business as Lifebank in 1998, when it claimed to be the first to harvest placental stem cells. However, its focus back then was biobanking, and it was only later that the use of placenta-derived stem cells as the basis for anticancer cell therapies emerged. In the meantime the group had tried to position the stem cell business in bone marrow transplantation, Lifebank was renamed Anthrogenesis and sold to and then bought back from Celgene, before striking a deal to be merged into the blank-cheque company GX Acquisition. That deal provided Celularity with $138m of cash, including an $83m Pipe financing, but took five months to close owing to a large number of redemptions, and GX having to vote to extend its life. Celularity’s allogeneic Car-T, Car-NK and unmodified NK cell therapies now face some pretty fierce competition.

A brief history of Celularity
1998 Rober Hariri founds Lifebank
2001 Lifebank is renamed Anthrogenesis
2002 Celgene buys Anthrogenesis for $45m in stock
2016 Rober Hariri founds Celularity
2017 Celularity buys Anthrogenesis back from Celgene for $346m including CVRs; certain IP is licensed back to Celgene
2018 Celularity raises $250m; Sorrento is an investor, with ~25% equity stake
May 2019 GX Acquisition, a Spac, is floated
2020 Celularity obtains rights to Sorrento’s anti-CD19 CAR-T construct, and sharpens focus on anticancer cell therapies
Feb 2021 Celularity announces merger into GX, providing $372m of cash, incl Pipe financing led by existing Celularity holders
May 2021 88% of GX investors ask to redeem their stock, including 73% at the time of the merger vote; GX has to seek to extend its Spac life
Jul 2021 Deal closes, but redemptions reduce cash provided to $138m
Source: company announcements & SEC filings.

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