Novartis backs Gamida Cell’s $40M raise to fund a looming PhIII study, marketing and manufacturing prep

by John Carroll — on June 19, 2017 08:30 AM EDT

Yael Margolin, Gamida CEO

Israel’s Gamida Cell now has the cash it needs to execute on a late-stage trial for its experimental cell graft, which it hopes can be OK’d for use when the right bone marrow donor can’t be found for patients suffering from leukemia and lymphoma.

Longtime backer Novartis jumped back in on this raise, joining lead investor Shavit Capital along with new investors VMS Investment Group and Israel Biotech Fund and current investors Clal Biotechnology Industries and Israel HealthCare Ventures.

Gamida Cell has been developing a cell graft that is made up of stem cells, progenitor cells as well as dendritic cells extracted from the umbilical cord. And it’s attracted the careful attention of Novartis, which has passed on options to buy the company but remains a large investor in it.

The biotech says that it not only has the cash to do the Phase III, it can also lay the foundation for a marketing campaign, complete manufacturing prep and start to expand its presence in the US in the lead up to what it hopes will be a positive outcome. The FDA handed the biotech its breakthrough therapy designation for this therapy recently to help speed it through the regulatory process.

Gamida Cell CEO Yael Margolin noted:

With this financing, we are well-positioned to complete the Phase 3 clinical trial of NiCord with the goal of bringing this lead product candidate to market and filling an important unmet need in bone marrow transplantation for blood cancer patients who cannot rapidly find a fully matched donor.”