Eterna Therapeutics Inc. has announced the acquisition of global immuno-oncology platform Exacis Biotherapeutics.
This acquisition complements Eterna’s core business with an allogeneic immuno-oncology product line under development for the treatment of hematology and solid tumors and gives Eterna an exclusive global license to produce mRNA-engineered natural killer (NK) and T-cell therapy derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. (iPSCs).
Competitive cancer therapy
“We are very excited to bring this powerful platform into Eterna. With the line of engineered cell therapy candidates from iPSC Exacis, we believe Eterna is well positioned to develop more effective, targeted and highly differentiated drugs to treat cancer,” said Matt Angel, chief executive and president of Eterna.
“We believe that combining Exacis and Eterna’s technologies reduces the risk of our approach and supports a capital-efficient path to develop highly competitive cancer therapies.”
Gregory Fiore, president and CEO of Exacis, and member of the Eterna board of directors, said: “Exacis was started with the goal of improving patient outcomes and experience and increasing access to life-saving care. Today’s announcement marks an important milestone on the road to achieving that goal. The Eterna board and leadership are committed to and have been working towards this common goal, and we believe that this acquisition provides Eterna with the necessary tools to develop next-generation therapies that target high-demand unmet indications, including blood cancers and solid tumors.”
The technology underlying the Exacis platform uses cell mRNA reprogramming and mRNA gene editing to create engineered iPSC-derived cells for use in the development of cancer therapies that can target virtually any cancer antigen. In contrast to DNA-based reprogramming and gene editing, the mRNA-based approach does not expose cells to expensive and potentially harmful viruses or DNA vectors. Eterna plans to use the Exacis platform to develop engineered cell therapies that contain genomic edits designed to enhance their performance.
Terms of the acquisition include an up-front payment in the form of Eterna common stock, as well as milestones and other potential payments totaling up to $49 million.
About Eterna Therapy
Eterna Therapeutics is a life sciences company committed to realizing the engineering potential of cell mRNA to provide patients with transformational new drugs. Eterna has licensed a portfolio of more than 100 patents spanning cell mRNA engineering technologies, including those for cell mRNA reprogramming, mRNA gene editing, NoveSlice and UltraSlice gene editing proteins, and Factor Bioscience’s ToRNAdo mRNA delivery system.