CSL In US Expansion

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

At one stage in yesterday’s ‘blah’ market shares in blood products giant, CSL were up nearly 5% at $129.16 after it revealed plans to but a US biotech for more than $410 million, if certain performance markers are met over the next 8 years.

But eventually the negative set of investors hit the CSL share price, knocking it down by 0.2% to $128.20.

It is the second major buy of a blood products-related group by CSL in just over two months.

In June CSL agreed to buy an 80% stake in plasma-derived therapies manufacturer Wuhan Zhong Yuan Rui De Biologics (“Ruide”) in China for US$352 million.

Ruide has a broad portfolio of domestic plasma products, with a manufacturing facility and four plasma collection centres which will allow CSL to grow inside China.

CSL’s latest buy is a company called Calimmune. and it makes treatments for rare diseases via stem cell therapy.

CSL says the purchase will provide CSL Behring, its blood products business, with Calimmune’s haematopoietic stem cell gene therapy which is being developed for the treatment of sickle cell disease and b-thalassemia.

The deal requires an an up-front payment of $91 million and performance-based milestone payments of up to $325 million over eight years or more following the closing of the transaction.

Sickle cell disease and b-thalassemia are inherited disorders affecting haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.

The two diseases affect organ function and are associated with substantial illness, poor quality of life and shortened life expectancy.

CSL chief executive Paul Perreault says Calimmune’s gene therapy candidate, CAL-H, is promising and complements the company’s core competencies and areas of therapeutic focus.

"While Calimmune is still in the early stages, we believe that our combined strengths have tremendous potential to change treatment paradigms and, most importantly, significantly improve the lives of our patients," Mr Perreault said in a statement on Monday.

The acquisition includes research facilities in Pasadena, California and Sydney. CSL said the deal also includes two technology platforms designed to address some major challenges with the commercialisation of stem cell therapy.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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