In the most recent update regarding U.K. cellular therapy firm Celixir in July 2020, the progression of its cardio cell therapy clinical trial had been obstructed by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopes were pinned on the possibility of resuming participant recruitment in the third quarter of the same year.
A transformative move has occurred as the particular purpose acquisition company, Ashington Innovation, executed a reverse merger to acquire Celixir. This acquisition involved an all-share transaction valued at 135 million pounds sterling (equivalent to $172.2 million). The acquisition marks an important step, and Ashington plans to secure an additional 3 million pounds (about $3.8 million) to support further advancements in drug development.
This merger represents a complete revival for Celixir. As of March 2023, the company’s available funds were approximately 285,000 pounds (around $363,500), while its liabilities exceeded 10 million pounds (approximately $12.8 million). Comparable financial records from the preceding year showed a comparable financial situation.
Amidst these financial dynamics, Celixir underwent tumultuous changes in its leadership structure. Notably, in April 2021, the directorships of co-founders Sir Martin Evans, a Nobel laureate recognized for his contributions to embryonic stem cell research in 2007, and Ajan Reginald were terminated. Subsequently, Ajan Reginald was reappointed three months later. The inception of Celixir dates back to 2009 when these two visionaries established the company.
Celixir’s primary focus centered on an allogeneic cell therapy approach designed to address ischemic cardiomyopathy using immunomodulator progenitor cells. The biotech firm’s report in July 2020 highlighted the successful dosing of the first patient in a clinical trial conducted a few months earlier, specifically in March. This coincided with the onset of global upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s plan was to recommence participant recruitment in the third quarter and to conclude the trial by 2021, an indication of the underestimation of the prolonged impact of containment measures.
Since then, there has been a conspicuous absence of public statements from the company, according to data from GlobeNewswire. Notably, the most recent press release on Celixir’s official website dates back to 2018. The motives behind Ashington’s interest in Celixir remain unclear. Ashington Innovation, which recently debuted its shares on the London Stock Exchange in June, defines itself as an entity established with the objective of acquiring technological sector enterprises, either in whole or in part. The chairman of Ashland, Peter Presland, is a former insurance executive with a track record of occupying non-executive director roles since 2001. Additionally, it was announced that Executive Director Jason Drummond would be stepping down from his position due to commitments in other business ventures.