QHP Capital has announced its acquisition of Applied StemCell, Inc. (ASC), a cell and gene therapy Contract Research Organization (CRO) and Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO). ASC specializes in supporting the research community and biotechnology industry in developing and manufacturing cell and gene products.
ASC boasts over 15 years of experience in gene editing and stem cell technologies, offering customized CRO and CDMO solutions. Its unique platform includes Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-grade allogeneic induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and its proprietary TARGATTTM gene editing technology. These resources provide advantages such as shorter manufacturing timelines, non-viral gene editing, and genomic stability and safety.
The acquisition by QHP Capital is expected to help ASC accelerate its vision of advancing the cell and gene therapy market by creating iPSCs and cell products that prioritize efficacy, safety, and scalable manufacturing.
Reprogramming somatic cells into iPSCs has vast potential for various applications, including cell therapy, primary research, disease modeling, and drug development. iPSCs can be generated, expanded, and used to produce clinical-grade cells of almost any type, with potential applications ranging from personalized drugs to regenerative cell therapies.
QHP Capital’s investment in ASC aligns with its focus on providing strategic capital and support to established firms positioned to scale to meet the needs of the regenerative medicine industry.
Robert W. Baird & Co. served as the financial advisor to ASC in this transaction.
About Applied StemCell:
Applied StemCell (ASC) is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) and Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) based in the California Bay Area, specializing in cell and gene therapy solutions. The company focuses on providing comprehensive services to support research, pre-clinical development, and clinical manufacturing for clients developing novel therapeutics.
ASC’s key offerings include its TARGATT™ Genome Editing technology, designed to facilitate precise and efficient genome modifications, and its induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform, which meets Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. These resources enable ASC to assist clients in developing cutting-edge therapies while ensuring regulatory compliance.
Notably, ASC has developed two cGMP-grade iPSC lines that adhere to the regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for cell therapy product development.
Additionally, the company holds a Drug Manufacturing License from the California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch (FDB), further demonstrating its commitment to quality and regulatory compliance in the field of cell and gene therapy.
ASC’s expertise and capabilities make it a valuable partner for organizations seeking to advance their research and development efforts in the rapidly evolving field of cell and gene therapies.
ASC’s TARGATT™ technology represents a significant advancement in the field of gene editing, offering a fast and precise method for integrating large DNA fragments, with sizes of up to 20 kb, into a specific and well-defined locus known as a “safe harbor.” This approach ensures stable integration at an active genomic site with high efficiency.
The TARGATT™ technology relies on the use of an “attP” landing pad and an “attB” donor plasmid, enabling the achievement of single-copy gene insertion. This precise integration is valuable for various applications, including:
- Cell Line Development: TARGATT™ allows the creation of cell lines with large fragment knock-ins, enabling researchers to introduce specific genetic modifications or reporter genes into a defined genomic location. This ensures consistent and reliable gene expression.
- Bioproduction: The technology can be applied to enhance bioproduction processes, such as the production of recombinant proteins or biologics. By integrating genes of interest into a safe harbor locus, researchers can improve production yields and product quality.
- Library Construction: TARGATT™ facilitates the construction of libraries for various research purposes, including functional genomics, drug discovery, and pathway analysis. The controlled integration of genes into a specific genomic site enhances the accuracy and reproducibility of screening experiments.
- TARGATT iPSC Master Cells: The technology is also used to generate TARGATT iPSC master cells, which serve as a foundational resource for the development of clinical cell therapies. These iPSCs are engineered to carry specific genetic modifications in a controlled and stable manner, ensuring the safety and efficacy of cell-based therapies.
By overcoming challenges associated with random integration, such as position effect, gene silencing, and instability resulting from multiple transgene copies, ASC’s TARGATT™ platform provides a valuable tool for researchers and biotechnology companies seeking to advance their gene editing and cell therapy development efforts.
About QHP Capital:
QHP Capital, L.P. is an investment firm that specializes in investing in lower middle market healthcare companies, primarily in North America. The firm’s investment focus centers on services and technology companies within the healthcare and pharmaceutical services industries.
QHP Capital aims to accelerate the growth of its portfolio companies by providing strategic partnership and operating resources.
The types of investments made by QHP Capital include:
- Buyouts: QHP Capital may acquire a controlling interest in a healthcare company, allowing it to take an active role in the company’s operations and growth strategy.
- Growth Equity: The firm may provide capital to healthcare companies in exchange for an ownership stake, helping these companies expand and achieve their growth objectives.
- Recapitalizations: QHP Capital may participate in recapitalization transactions, which involve restructuring a company’s capital or ownership structure to support its growth and development.
Overall, QHP Capital seeks to partner with healthcare companies that have growth potential and can benefit from the firm’s industry expertise and resources. By providing capital and strategic support, QHP Capital aims to drive the success of its portfolio companies in the dynamic healthcare sector.