Shares of Autolus Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: AUTL) jumped about 30% in premarket trading on Monday after it said Blackstone Life Sciences agreed to invest up to $250 million to fund the development of its new therapy for Leukemia.
Blackstone is taking a sizable equity stake in Autolus
Blackstone is taking an equity stake worth $100 million in Autolus Therapeutics that will also win it a seat on the board. The sharp increase in the share price added millions to the biotech firm’s market cap this morning.
The U.S. private equity company will also invest $150 million to fund the development and commercialization of Obecabtagene Autoleucel (obe-cel) – Autolus Therapeutics’ cell therapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
One-third of this investment will be paid upfront, and the remaining will be tied to certain milestones, as per the press release.
Autolus Therapeutics picked Cooley LLP as its legal advisor for the deal, while Goodwin Procter LLP is serving the role for Blackstone. Moelis & Company LLC is acting as the financial advisor.
Autolus will also pay royalties to Blackstone
Under the terms of the agreement, Blackstone Life Sciences will also receive ongoing payments from Autolus Therapeutics as royalties from net sales of obe-cel. According to Dr Nicholas Galakatos, Global Head of Blackstone Life Sciences:
Our investment in Autolus Therapeutics’ next-generation cell therapies exemplify our conviction in the quality and promise of the life science sector in the UK. We look forward to building on this investment in the years to come.
Blackstone currently holds the top spot on the list of the United Kingdom’s biggest foreign investors in the trailing ten years. So far, it has uplifted 44 UK-headquartered companies with sizable investments, which sum up to a total of over $18 billion.
The news comes shortly after Autolus Therapeutics said it will set up a dedicated manufacturing facility in Stevenage in a bid to establish “global commercial launch capacity” for obe-cel.
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