RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., April 13, 2020 — ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: THMO), a market leader in automated cell processing tools and services in the cell and gene therapy field, announced today that its joint venture, ImmuneCyte Life Sciences, Inc., has completed the acquisition of worldwide intellectual property for developing fully human antibody therapeutics for COVID-19. The acquired intellectual property includes four high-affinity monoclonal antibody drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) and tools for screening and quantifying efficacy of such neutralizing antibodies. These high-affinity neutralizing monoclonal antibodies were obtained from the screening of enriched B cell libraries from individuals who have recently recovered from COVID-19 (i.e. from convalescent whole blood). The technologies were originally developed by a research team affiliated with East China Normal University, one of the most prestigious universities in China. The acquisition includes an undisclosed upfront cash payment and low double-digit future revenue sharing for the monoclonal antibody drug candidates under development. ThermoGenesis currently holds approximately 19% of the equity of ImmuneCyte.
There are currently no regulatory approved vaccine or drug therapies for COVID-19. Current estimates are that a vaccine for emergency use may be available by early 2021. Convalescent plasma therapy is an exploratory approach that involves giving patients an infusion of plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19. ThermoGenesis is developing a convalescent plasma strategy for COVID-19 with its SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) IgM/IgG Antibody Fast Detection Kit, which, together with ImmuneCyte’s newly acquired technologies, can quickly identify individuals who have developed protective immunity against the virus, and then, using ThermoGenesis’ proprietary cell processing platform, allows for the simultaneous isolation of convalescent plasma and immune cells for potential anti-COVID-19 antibody development.
The key effectors in convalescent plasma are neutralizing antibodies, which can block the entrance of the virus into the cells, thus achieving its anti-viral effects. Purified neutralizing polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies could be safer and more potent and are expected to have much higher efficacy than convalescent plasma. With the acquisition of these key intellectual property technologies, ImmuneCyte will be further engaged in the development of anti- COVID-19 polyclonal and monoclonal neutralizing antibodies for COVID-19 treatment.
“The technologies acquired from a team associated with the world’s leading institute in biological research will allow us to spearhead our antibody drug development against COVID-19”, Chris Xu, Ph.D, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ThermoGenesis, commented, “Given the gravity of the situation, both ThermoGenesis and ImmuneCyte are rapidly mobilizing our respective expertise and resources to fight against the pandemic. The acquisition of the new technologies by ImmuneCyte, along with ThermoGenesis’ established proprietary technologies in the automated cellular processing field, will allow us to develop highly efficient processing methods for making convalescent plasma and pursue the development of fully human polyclonal and monoclonal antibody therapies against COVID-19.”
About ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc.
ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc. develops, commercializes and markets a range of automated technologies for CAR-T and other cell-based therapies. The Company currently markets a full suite of solutions for automated clinical biobanking, point-of-care applications, and automation for immuno-oncology, including its semi-automated, functionally-closed CAR-TXpress™ platform, which streamlines the manufacturing process for the emerging CAR-T immunotherapy market. For more information about ThermoGenesis, please visit: www.thermogenesis.com.
About ImmuneCyte Life Sciences, Inc.
ImmuneCyte, a joint venture which is 19% owned by ThermoGenesis, is one of the first U.S. based immune cell banks to develop and commercialize immunological products and services. The Company provides clients the opportunity to bank their own immune cells when the cells are “healthy and unaffected” as a future resource for cellular immunotherapies, such as CAR-T. ImmuneCyte utilizes a proprietary CAR-TXpress™ platform, a GMP compliant close-system capable of automated separating and cryopreserving different components from blood, simultaneously. For more information about ImmuneCyte Life Sciences Inc., please visit: www.immunecyte.com.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but rather reflect the current expectations of ThermoGenesis concerning future events and results. Forward-looking statements based on ThermoGenesis’ current assumptions, expectations and beliefs are generally identifiable by use of words “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue,” or similar expressions and involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, developments and business decisions to differ materially from those contemplated by these statements. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and factors include, but are not limited to, market and other conditions, as well as those risk factors discussed in Item 1A of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as well as other documents that may be filed by ThermoGenesis from time to time with the SEC, which are available at www.sec.gov. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. You are cautioned not to unduly rely on such forward-looking statements when evaluating the information presented in this press release.
Paula Schwartz, Rx Communications