Atara Biotherapeutics announced yesterday that Fujifilm will acquire its T-cell operations and manufacturing (ATOM) facility for $100 million.
South San Francisco-based Atara entered into a long-term strategic agreement with Fujifilm’s Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) subsidiary under which Fujifilm will acquire the ATOM facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and retain current manufacturing and quality staff at the site.
The deal also includes a long-term supply agreement that could extend to 10 years. After the transaction completes — which is expected to happen in April 2022 — FDB will provide Atara with access to the capacity and capability needed to manufacture clinical and commercial-stage allogeneic cell therapies for its pipeline. FDB will also expand the use of the manufacturing site and use its staff to manufacture a broader portfolio of cell therapies, according to a news release.
Atara’s pipeline includes tabelecleucel (tab-cel),which is under regulatory review in Europe for EBV+ PTLD, ATA188 for multiple sclerosis, and allogeneic CAR T therapies, ATA3271 and ATA3219.
“Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies is a highly respected, quality-focused, industry-leading manufacturing and development organization that shares our pioneering culture and belief that allogeneic cell therapies will transform the future of medicine,” Atara President and CEO Pascal Touchon said in the release. “We believe that now is the right time for a strategic relationship with FDB to provide us with expert manufacturing capabilities, as needed. Accordingly, we will further focus capital resources on the development and commercialization of our pipeline of potentially transformative therapeutics for serious diseases.”
Under the agreement, Atara will receive $100 million at closing while Fujifilm plans to offer positions to the approximately 140 current staffers at the manufacturing facility. Atara retains the Thousand Oaks-based Atara Research Center (ARC) that houses its preclinical, translational sciences, manufacturing process sciences and analytical development teams.
“We are thrilled that through this acquisition we will add approximately 140 talented staff from Atara’s cell therapy manufacturing facility to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies family. The collective expertise of the team will further support our efforts as a world-class CDMO,” FDB CEO Martin Meeson said. “We also look forward to adding the facility to Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ existing global footprint and to bolster the expansion of our advanced therapies CDMO business.”