Hitachi gets EU cell manufacturing facilities with deal to buy Apceth Biopharma

Japan’s Hitachi, which is trying to forge a leadership position as a CDMO in regenerative and cell therapies, already has facilities in the U.S. Now it is making a move into Europe.

Hitachi Chemical Co. on Thursday announced its intent to pay €75.5 million ($86.8 million) for Apceth Biopharma, a contract manufacturer of cell and gene therapy products.

With the deal, the Japanese company picks up two manufacturing facilities in Munich, Germany with about 600 square meters (6,458 square feet) of cleanroom space. Hitachi said the facilities meet European regulations and the company already is doing work for both U.S. and European clients. The deal is slated to close in April.

Hitachi made a move into U.S. cell manufacturing 2016 when it agreed to pay $19.4 million for a nearly 20% stake in PCT, a subsidiary of Caladrius Biosciences, which has its own pipeline of cell therapy candidates. The deal also gave Hitachi access to two manufacturing facilities and a license to PCT's cell therapy technology for use in certain Asian countries, including Japan.

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PCT has a 25,000-square-foot cell therapy plant in Mountain View, California, and a 30,000-square-foot facility in Allendale, New Jersey, where Hitachi has its U.S. headquarters now.

Hitachi today said that it recently opened a facility in Yokohama, Japan, and that construction is underway for a third U.S. facility in Allendale that it says will provide commercial manufacturing capabilities once it opens in the second quarter of this year.

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Last fall, Hitachi signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline to manufacture GSK’s SPEAR T-cell receptor therapy targeting NY-ESO-1 for the U.S., Canadian and European trials.