MultiCell Technologies this week said that Corning Life Sciences will pay it $820,000 as part of a worldwide exclusive license and technology purchase agreement. Corning will acquire 67 percent of MultiCell’s Fa2N-4 immortalized adult hepatocyte cell lines, which Corning will use for ADME/Tox and other drug-discovery applications.
As part of the deal, Corning obtains the right to further develop and commercialize the technology. MultiCell said it will retain the rights to use the remaining inventory in applications unrelated to ADME/Tox. It will also keep the proteins from its immortalized hepatocytes.
“Corning was interested in growing that business at a rate that our little company could not do,” Stephen Chang, president and CEO of MultiCell, told CBA News this week. “MultiCell’s current business strategy is to focus on what it believes to be high-value therapeutic opportunities.” The divestiture suggests that two-thirds of its Fa2N-4 immortalized adult hepatocyte cell lines does not fit into this category.
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corning paid MultiCell $375,000 for the rights and will pay it an additional $375,000 when the asset transition wraps up, which is expected to be sometime in February.
Corning will pay MultiCell another $69,837.50 for the current cell line inventory and the relevant protocols and equipment necessary to maintain and further develop the technology.
Corning will also pay MultiCell $25,000 per month to help it maintain its facility in Lincoln, RI, during the transition period.
“Corning was interested in growing that business at a rate that our little company could not do.”
According to Chang, “it is very unusual to have essentially a tools/reagent business in conjuction with a therapeutics-development business…and because MultiCell is small, it had to choose an area on which to focus.”
The company decided to focus on therapeutics. Its current drug candidates include two drugs to treat multiple sclerosis and MS-related fatigue; a drug to treat TLR3-positive breast cancer; and a drug to treat TLR3-positive cervical cancer.
This is a new direction for Corning Life Sciences, said Chang. “They have never gone into the [drug discovery tools] business before. You would have thought Corning would have bought another consumables supplier.”
Beth Dann, the media relations manager at Corning Life Sciences, said that the acquisition of MultiCell’s hepatocyte cell lines is an example of the expansion of Corning’s drug discovery and cellular research activities.