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+ND Capital's European Investment Strategy Delivers Again as Sale of CellPoint to Galapagos Paves the Way for Disruptive Point-of-Care Cell Therapy Model for Cancer Patients

·5 min read
  • Lausanne-based +ND Capital's investment strategy delivers again as Galapagos acquires CellPoint for €125m cash upfront and up to €100m in milestone payments

  • Potential for paradigm shift in CAR-T therapy with CellPoint's decentralized point-of-care manufacturing model, in collaboration with Basel-based Lonza

  • As sole venture investor in CellPoint, the sale underlines +ND Capital's success in Europe, being its second exit after Arctos Medical sale to Novartis

WOODSIDE, Calif. and LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lausanne-based team of US investment firm, +ND Capital, today marked its second successful exit in the European biotechnology market as Belgian biotech company, Galapagos NV (Euronext & NASDAQ: GLPG), announced1 that it will acquire Dutch cell therapy company CellPoint. +ND Capital was the sole venture investor in CellPoint, a company dedicated to developing CAR-T therapies at the point-of-care.

The deal, which is an all-cash acquisition of CellPoint for an upfront amount of €125 million, with milestone payments up to €100 million, has the potential to accelerate the development, commercialization and scale-up of CellPoint's CAR-T delivery model at point-of-care, providing Galapagos access to next-generation cell therapies.

Current cell therapy treatments, which involve extracting cells from patients and manufacturing taking place at dedicated remote (or central) facilities, present some challenges, including cost, manufacturing times that can take up to six weeks, and toxicity issues.

The CellPoint novel point-of-care solution offers the potential for efficient and fast vein-to-vein delivery and avoids complex logistics. It combines CellPoint's proprietary, fully integrated, and automated end-to-end real-time monitoring xCellit software system with Switzerland-based Lonza's Cocoon® system, a closed, automated manufacturing platform for cell and gene therapies. It could potentially reduce cost and importantly, allow for patients to receive treatment tailored to their own cells within a week of patient sampling.

Clinical studies with the CellPoint decentralized supply model have been approved by regulatory authorities in Belgium, Spain, and The Netherlands and two Phase 1/2a studies in rrNHL and rrCLL with a CD-19 CAR-T candidate product have been initiated. Topline results, which are expected in the first half of 2023, provide the opportunity for a rapid clinical validation of the CellPoint CAR-T supply model in patients.

Tol Trimborn, co-founder and CEO of CellPoint, said:

"We could not have reached today's milestone without the commitment and management expertise of our sole investor, +ND Capital. Despite the progress with current CAR-T therapies, long lead times, highly manual central manufacturing, and complex logistics remain the limiting factors for large-scale capacity and broad patient access. We are excited to become part of Galapagos to realize the potential of our innovative CAR-T delivery model."

Dani Bach, Partner at +ND Capital and Board member of CellPoint said:

"We saw the potential in CellPoint's decentralized manufacturing and supply model to address current limitations and deliver CAR-T cells at the point-of-care, in or near the hospital, thereby significantly shortening vein-to-vein time to six days as compared to the current industry standard of more than a month. As well as the better convenience and lower costs, we believe shorter vein-to-vein times will translate into a better safety profile, while keeping the same efficacy."

"This is our second exit in Europe, and both are good examples of +ND Capital's company creation efforts in Switzerland and Europe," he added.

Patrick Aebischer, Senior Partner at +ND Capital, previously President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) Lausanne, and founder of the firm's European operations, said:

"This deal is further validation of our strategy to invest in company creation in Europe. I'm convinced that plenty of European innovation remains untapped and ripe for our team's unique talent in identifying and building up successful companies. Above all, it provides cancer patients with new hope in the form of a disruptive technology that could lead to a promising, radical approach to cell therapy."

+ND Capital is currently investing out of its fourth venture investment fund (Fund IV) and its first Opportunity (Growth) Fund.

1. A copy of the announcement from Galapagos will be available after 22.01 CET here https://www.glpg.com/press-releases.

About +ND Capital – www.nd.capital

+ND Capital is a venture capital firm founded in 2002 that invests in disruptive technologies across the life, physical, and data sciences. Its core belief is that scientific disciplines will continue to converge, and that some of the biggest breakthroughs will be based on this convergence. Examples in its portfolio include NASDAQ-listed companies Twist Bioscience, world leader in DNA synthesis, and SQZ Bio, developing non-viral methods to manufacture cell therapies. ND Capital invests across the United States and Europe, with offices in Woodside, California, USA and Lausanne, Switzerland.

European operations

+ND Capital's European operations started in 2019, with Fund III ($ 335 million) raised to invest on both sides of the Atlantic. Its investment strategy in Europe focuses on company creation and Series A investment, leveraging Europe's extensive scientific base and building experienced and talented management teams. Of its seven European investments, it has achieved two successful exits so far, namely Arctos Medical sale to Novartis in late 2021 and the CellPoint sale to Galapagos announced today. +ND Capital built Bern-based, Arctos Medical, brought in the management team, and led its Series A. Arctos has developed an optogenetic gene therapy, capable of restoring vision in blind patients suffering from retinal degeneration regardless of the root cause (genetic or acquired).

Media enquiries:
Sue Charles, Charles Consultants
Sue@charles-consultants.com 
+44 (0)7968 726585

At +ND Capital:
Ursula Lucas
ul@nd.capital
+41 (0)79 567 3978

Cision
Cision

View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nd-capitals-european-investment-strategy-delivers-again-as-sale-of-cellpoint-to-galapagos-paves-the-way-for-disruptive-point-of-care-cell-therapy-model-for-cancer-patients-301572325.html

SOURCE +ND Capital