Commercial Selecta and Cartesian strengthen funding for the objectives of...

Selecta and Cartesian strengthen funding for the objectives of autoimmune cell treatment in reverse merger


Selecta Biosciences is embarking on a strategic collaboration with Cartesian, steering itself into the realm of cell therapy innovation, poised for a resurgence after successfully securing a majority of its previous ventures. This alliance was unveiled through a reverse merger, with the resultant entity retaining the Selecta name and its existing Nasdaq listing. CEO Carsten Brunn will continue to lead the merged company, while Cartesian’s co-founders, Murat Kalayoglu, and Michael Singer, will assume roles on the board.

In terms of ownership, Selecta shareholders will hold a 26.9% stake in the newly formed company. The amalgamated venture is set to benefit from a robust financial foundation, boasting over $110 million in cash reserves. This includes a noteworthy $60.2 million injection from a concurrent private placement.

 With these funds, the revitalized Selecta plans to propel its lead asset, Descartes-08, a pioneering RNA-engineered CAR-T therapy developed by Cartesian, into a phase 3 clinical trial targeting myasthenia gravis. Additionally, a phase 2 trial exploring the application of Descartes-08 in lupus patients is scheduled to commence in mid-2024. The augmented financial resources will also support the pursuit of other promising programs.

This strategic maneuver breathes new life into both Selecta and Cartesian, infusing a sense of optimism—a valuable commodity that has eluded many biotech companies in the current landscape. For Selecta, this marks a pivotal shift from its diminished aspirations, which were epitomized by the decision in August to focus primarily on SEL-212, a gout drug in partnership with Sobi, and to seek FDA approval by 2024. 

The company had paused other initiatives, such as the preclinical ImmTOR-IL asset for liver diseases, and implemented a workforce reduction of 25% during the summer, all of which contributed to a prolonged period of share prices below $2 since March.

While Cartesian has been making strides with the advancement of Descartes-08, the typical challenges faced by private biotechs in securing financing have persisted.

 The merger with Selecta positions Descartes-08 as a beacon, aiming to attract sustained public investment. Beyond Descartes-08, Cartesian brings to the table Descartes-15, a more potent next-generation version in the preclinical stage, and Descartes-33, an off-the-shelf stem cell therapy designed to address autoantibody-associated autoimmune diseases. This collaborative venture represents a significant leap forward for both companies in the biotech landscape.

Latest news

Life Sciences Voice Top Five Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of the Life Sciences Voice Top Five Newsletter, your source for the top developments...

Pfizer’s Phase 3 Trial for Gene Therapy in Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Fails to Show Functional Improvement

Pfizer's gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy failed to improve motor function in young boys in a key late-stage...

Phase 3 Trial Results for Loqtorzi Show Positive Results in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients

Phase 3 trial results for Loqtorzi (toripalimab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) show that in first-line patients suffering from advanced hepatocellular...

Must read

Surrounded by controversy, FDA approves Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm

In the middle of the debate about the Alzheimer’s drug approval, the United States FDA has authorized Aduhelm

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you