UCF Business Incubator’s CytoSen Acquired in Potentially Record-breaking Deal

Winter Springs, Fla. (June 6, 2019) – Netherlands-based Kiadis Pharma has agreed to purchase Winter Springs-based biotech company CytoSen in a stock transaction that could reach nearly $70 million at the current stock price, which could mean new treatment options for cancer patients.

The sale is the largest biotechnology company purchase in Central Florida’s history. The only other company to come close was VaxDesign, which sold in 2015 for $60 million.

“This is exactly why the region has invested in biosciences,” says Robert Igarashi, co-founder of CytoSen. “It is so companies like ours could blossom.”

The terms of the sale include an upfront consideration of 1.94 million shares of Kiadis stock. Once the company accomplishes six clinical development and regulatory milestones, CytoSen’s owners will receive another 5.82 million shares. As of June 5, Kiadis’ shares were trading at 7.80 Euros, or $8.81.

The deal showcases the power of Central Florida’s economic development ecosystem, powered by years of dedicated partnerships led by the University of Central Florida.

For Kiadis, the acquisition is an opportunity to bring two different types of cell-based immunotherapies together under one company.  The result could potentially help cancer patients around the world.

“I am excited about this unique opportunity to bring NK cells and T cells together to benefit patients with devastating diseases”, added Robert Friesen, Chief Scientific Officer for Kiadis.

CytoSen’s journey began in 2016 when Dr. Alicja Copik, a researcher at UCF’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, developed a nanoparticle, which stimulates natural cancer killing cells, increasing their ability to fight cancers.

When it came time to build a company to commercialize the technology for greater patient benefit, Copik, Igarashi and other co-founders formed CytoSen. CytoSen licensed the technology from UCF and entered the UCF incubation program.

“The UCF Business Incubator Program has been a very good vehicle to foster this company to its present form,” Igarashi says. “This was an early stage operation at the beginning and they significantly helped us reach this major milestone.”

The company started at the Research Park Incubator and for the past two years was headquartered at the Winter Springs Incubator.

“This is an outstanding success story for the UCF Business Incubation Program,” says Carol Ann Dykes Logue of the UCF Research Park Innovation District. “While certainly this is an atypical accomplishment, this proves anything can be possible with a great product or service accompanied by a great business.”

The company plans to continue to operate out of the Winter Springs Incubator, providing economic impact to the east Seminole County community.

“Our programs are uniquely designed to help grow companies, allowing them to work together and prosper while continuing to grow the cities that partner with UCF on this program,” says Jerry Ross, president, National Entrepreneur Center. “CytoSen’s success should help other companies in the biotechnology field in our program see the potential future and help them grow as well.”

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For more information media should contact –

UCF Business Incubation Program: Rafael Caamano, 407-278-4880, Rafael.Caamano@ucf.edu or Alan Byrd, Alan Byrd & Associates, 407-415-8470, Alan@ByrdConnections.com

Kiadis: Maryann Cimino, 617-710-7305, m.cimino@kiadis.com

About the UCF Business Incubation Program: The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped over 390 local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.

With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2016/17 and 2017 /18 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 6,275 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $888 million on regional GDP and more than $1.59 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $12.03 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit Incubator.UCF.edu.

About CytoSen Therapeutics: CytoSen is a private biopharmaceutical company on the front line of advancing development of next generation NK-cells with the first scalable, therapeutic platform for high dose, cancer-killing NK-cells calibrated to each cancer target while reinforcing immune defenses. Born from the intersection of cellular immunotherapy and nanotechnology, CytoSen’s NK-cell therapy harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer.

About Kiadis Pharma: Kiadis is developing its lead product candidate, ATIR101, for use in conjunction with haploidentical HSCT for adult blood cancers to address key limitations of haploidentical HSCT, without prophylactic immunosuppression and its associated morbidity and mortality. Based on the positive results from the single dose Phase II CR-AIR-007 study, the Company submitted a marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Agency in April 2017 for approval of ATIR101 as an adjunctive treatment in haploidentical HSCT for high risk adult hematological malignancies. If the product is conditionally approved, Kiadis intends to launch ATIR101 in Europe through its own commercial organization by year end 2019.

In December 2017, Kiadis commenced an international, multicenter, randomized and controlled Phase III clinical trial of ATIR101 against the Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide, or PTCy protocol, the main protocol used to perform a haploidentical HSCT. The trial will be performed in 250 patients with acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome at approximately 50 sites in the United States, Canada, Europe and certain additional countries. ATIR101 received regenerative medicine advanced therapy designation from the FDA in September 2017, which provides benefits that are materially equivalent to a breakthrough designation from the FDA. In addition, ATIR101 has been granted multiple orphan Drug designations both in the European Union and the United States.

The Company’s shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam and Brussels under the ticker KDS. 

Forward Looking Statements

“Certain statements, beliefs and opinions in this press release are forward-looking, which reflect Kiadis’ or, as appropriate, Kiadis’ directors current expectations and projections about future events. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions could adversely affect the outcome and financial effects of the plans and events described herein. A multitude of factors including, but not limited to, changes in demand, competition and technology, or our ability to develop and successfully integrate new assets and product programs into our business, can all cause actual events, performance or results to differ significantly from any anticipated development. Forward looking statements contained in this press release regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. As a result, Kiadis expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release any update or revisions to any forward-looking statements in this press release as a result of any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which these forward-looking statements are based. Neither Kiadis nor its advisers or representatives nor any of its subsidiary undertakings or any such person’s officers or employees guarantees that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does either accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained in this press release or the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of release.”