September 28, 2023

Health Care/Biomed

$70 million CytoSen deal

Jason Garcia | 7/26/2019

CytoSen deal could be worth $70 million.

Central Florida, which has invested heavily in life sciences over the past decade and a half, reached a milestone in June: Kiadis Pharma, an Amsterdam-based cell-therapy company, bought Winter Springs-based CytoSen Therapeutics in a deal that could eventually be valued at $70 million — the biggest biotech sale in the region’s history, eclipsing the region’s previous record, set in 2015 when VaxDesign sold for $60 million.

“This is exactly why the region has invested in biosciences,” says CytoSen founder Robert Igarashi. “It is so companies like ours could blossom.”

Kiadis says the deal will allow the companies to combine their separate, proprietary cell-based immunotherapies in ways that could “create a pipeline with novel cancer treatments.”

“Our vision is to leverage the strengths of the human immune system to help patients with life-threatening diseases, and through this acquisition we can now create novel cell therapies that combine the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system,” says Kiadis CEO Arthur Lahr.

Under the terms of the all-stock deal, CytoSen shareholders will receive just under 2 million shares of Kiadis stock upfront and another 5.8 million once the company reaches half a dozen clinical development and regulatory milestones.

CytoSen was founded in 2016 when Dr. Alicja Copik, a researcher at the University of Central Florida, developed a nanoparticle that stimulated natural, cancer-killing cells. Copik, Igarashi and the company’s other co-founders later licensed the technology from the university and entered the school’s business incubator program. The company still operates out of UCF’s Winter Springs incubator.

“This proves anything can be possible with a great product or service accompanied by a great business,” says Carol Ann Dykes Logue, site manager at the UCF Research Park Innovation District.


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