Baxter International to acquire Chapel Hill biotech company for $70 million

Apr. 02, 2014 @ 06:56 PM

Baxter International Inc. has struck a deal to pay $70 million to acquire Chatham Therapeutics, a Chapel Hill-based company that it has partnered with to develop gene therapy treatments for the rare bleeding disorder hemophilia.

Baxter, based in Deerfield, Ill., has partnered with Chatham since May 2012 to evaluate the Chapel Hill company’s gene therapy technology as a potential treatment for hemophilia B. The treatment is in a Phase I/II study.

“Chatham's gene therapy platform technology offers the potential to redefine treatment of both hemophilia A and B,” said Ludwig Hantson, president of Baxter BioScience, in a a news release. “This technology will be highly complementary to our expanding pipeline of bleeding disorder treatments as we continue our pursuit of a bleed-free world.”

Last week, Baxter made public a plan to split its medial products business, which brought in $9 billion in revenue last year, and its biopharmaceutical business, which brought in $6 billion.

The company’s biopharmaceutical portfolio includes treatments for hemophilia and other bleeding disorders as well as therapeutics for immune disorders, burns, shock and other chronic and blood-related conditions.

The deal gives Baxter access to Chatham’s gene therapy platform, the hemophilia B program, as well as its pre-clinical hemophilia A program and “the potential future application to additional hemophilia treatments,” the release states. Baxter will pay $70 million initially, and may make additional payments.
“Given Baxter's long-standing commitment to innovative product development in hemophilia, we are confident that this transaction provides the best opportunity for the advancement of our BNPTM gene therapy platform technology for the benefit of hemophilia patients worldwide,” Jade Samulski, co-founder of Chatham Therapeutics and vice president of the related company, Asklepios BioPharmaceutical Inc., said in the release.

Asklepios launched in 2003 in the Research Triangle Park. One of the company’s founders is R. Jude Samulski, the director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gene Therapy Center.

The company developed technology that provides a way for the patient’s own liver to begin producing a clotting protein called Factor IX, according to the release. After the acquisition, Chatham will keep its licensing and development relationship with Asklepios to develop new hemophilia gene therapy candidates.