Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX) announced today that it agreed to acquire ViaCyte for $320 million.
San Diego-based ViaCyte develops an advanced portfolio of novel stem cell-derived replacement therapies designed to provide a functional cure for patients with type 1 diabetes.
Boston-based Vertex develops its own similar therapeutic for diabetes, having designed its VX-880 as a stem cell-derived, fully differentiated pancreatic islet cell replacement therapy for people with type 1 diabetes with impaired hypoglycemic awareness and severe hypoglycemia. Just last week, the FDA lifted the clinical hold placed on the Phase 1/2 trial of VX-880.
“VX-880 has successfully demonstrated clinical proof of concept in [type 1 diabetes], and the acquisition of ViaCyte will accelerate our goal of transforming, if not curing [type 1 diabetes] by expanding our capabilities and bringing additional tools, technologies and assets to our current stem cell-based programs,” Vertex CEO and President Dr. Reshma Kewalramani said in a news release.
In the release, Vertex said its acquisition of ViaCyte provides it with complementary assets, capabilities and technologies including additional human stem cell lines, intellectual property around stem cell differentiation and good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing facilities for cell-based therapies that could accelerate Vertex’s ongoing T1D programs.
Additionally, Vertex said the acquisition provides access to novel hypoimmune stem cell assets through the ViaCyte collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics.
Vertex expects the $320 million cash acquisition to close later this year, subject to certain conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions.
“ViaCyte’s commitment to finding a functional cure for [type 1 diabetes] is shared by Vertex, and this acquisition will allow Vertex to deploy ViaCyte’s tools, technologies and assets toward the development of Vertex’s multiple cell replacement therapy approaches designed to reduce the burden of millions of people living with [type 1 diabetes] worldwide,” VyaCyte President and CEO Michael Yang added.