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AstraZeneca to Acquire Gracell Biotechnologies for up to $1.2B

NEW YORK – AstraZeneca on Tuesday said it will acquire Gracell Biotechnologies, adding the biotech's dual BCMA- and CD19-targeted autologous CAR T-cell therapy GC012F to its pipeline assets.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will acquire all of Gracell's fully diluted share capital at a price of $2.00 per ordinary share in cash, equivalent to $10 per American Depositary Share, plus a non-tradable contingent value right of $.30 per ordinary share, payable in cash at a certain regulatory milestone.

The upfront value of the transaction is approximately $1 billion, or a 62 percent premium on Gracell's closing price as of Dec. 22 and a 154 percent premium over its 60-day volume-weighted average price of $3.94. The total value of the transaction, including upfront and contingent value, is estimated at $1.2 billion. As part of the transaction, AstraZeneca will acquire Gracell's cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments, totaling $234.1 million as of Sept. 30. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

Gracell received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration and China's National Medical Products Administration to begin Phase Ib/II trials of GC012F in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma in February.

The San Diego-based company also in May said an investigator-initiated trial of GC012F is underway in China in patients with refractory systemic lupus erythematosus and is hoping to submit an investigational new drug application to the FDA for a similar trial in the US.