Sesen Biotech has decided to merge its business and operations with Carisma Therapeutics by signing a final agreement to make this change official. With this merger, a larger clinical biotechnology company will be formed. The agreement has been endorsed by both the Sesen Bio and Carisma boards of directors in unanimity. The final agreement and transaction are expected to conclude in a period of four months, subject to the required approvals and closing conditions.
Sesen is a biotech company based in the United States which works on the development of cancer treatments through focused and tailored fusion protein therapies.
The company will operate under the name of Carisma Therapeutics, post its final merger with its headquarters based in Philadelphia, United States. The CEO of Carisma will serve as the CEO of the combined company. The company has stated that they primarily aim to concentrate on developing Carisma’s cell therapy platform, which uses synthesized macrophages and monocytes to revolutionize the way cancer and other severe illnesses are treated.
At the time of the final transaction, the combined worth of the business is anticipated to be around $180 million in cash, concurrent financing, and marketable securities. These cash revenues will primarily be utilized in the advancement of several clinical programs of Carisma, currently in the pipeline. Additionally, all the operating and capital expenses until 2024 will be covered by these reserves.
Following discussions with the FDA, Sesen has delayed its Phase 3 bladder cancer program. While another therapy by Sesen named Vicineum has had its U.S. clinical development stopped due to funding constraints.
Carisma believes that it is among one of the few companies to have significant findings, research, and proven results to develop Chimeric antigen receptor macrophage (CAR-M) therapies. The main function of CAR-M is that it alters immune cells’ precise targets and paves the way for several therapeutic uses in oncology and other fields. The company is now evaluating CT-0508 in a multicenter Phase I trial for advanced HER2+ solid tumors as the first clinical use of CAR-M cell therapy and the technology has the potential to serve as an important therapy for cancer patients.
The CAR-Macrophage cell therapies from Carisma have proven to be effective at delivering a long-lasting attack against cancer by entering the tumor, warming up the tumor, attracting and activating cells of the adaptive immune system, and eliminating cancer cells.
Carisma is working to expand its oncology pipeline by two mediums:
· Partnership with Moderna
The company received $45 million in cash from Moderna for the development, research, and marketing of Vivo Car-M therapy.
Regarding the merger, the CEO of Carisma Steven Kelly stated “This transaction will fasten the growth of our pipeline as well as develop additional strategic partnerships. We currently are successfully partnering with Novartis and Moderna. This will also continue the development of our cell therapy technology (CT-0508)”.
While the CEO of Sesen, Thomas Cannell also commented “This deal marks the outcome of a detailed evaluation of merger options over the past four months. We received a total of 42 offers from which Carisma’s clinical programs, strategic management, and experienced personnel were the best”.