Autolus Therapeutics (AUTL) Stock: Why The Price Surged Today

By Amit Chowdhry ● Nov 8, 2021
  • The stock price of Autolus Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: AUTL) increased by over 25% pre-market today. This is why it happened.

The stock price of Autolus Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: AUTL) – a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation programmed T cell therapies – increased by over 25% pre-market today. Investors are responding positively to Autolus Therapeutics and Blackstone Life Sciences announcing that the two companies have entered into a strategic collaboration and financing agreement under which funds managed by Blackstone will provide up to $250 million in equity and product financing to support Autolus’ advancement of its CD19 CAR T cell investigational therapy product candidate, obecabtagene autoleucel (obe-cel), as well as next-generation product therapies of obe-cel in B-cell malignancies.

As part of the $250 million transaction, Blackstone is committing to invest $150 million in product financing to support obe-cel development and commercialization with $50 million payable upon closing of the transaction and the remainder payable based on certain development and regulatory achievements. And Blackstone has also agreed to purchase $100 million of Autolus’ American Depositary Shares (ADS) in a private placement, which is subject to customary closing conditions. In connection with the collaboration, Blackstone received the right to nominate a member to Autolus’ board of directors.

The deal continues Blackstone’s commitment to the UK economy which has seen the firm invest more than $18 billion across 44 investments headquartered in UK. And these investments support more than 27,000 direct jobs and help make Blackstone the UK’s biggest foreign investor over the past 10 years.

Autolus recently announced plans for building a dedicated manufacturing facility in Stevenage, UK to help secure global commercial launch capacity for obe-cel with a 70,000 square foot building. And the ground-breaking ceremony for this new facility is due to be held today with building works commencing imminently.

Moelis & Company LLC had acted as financial advisor. Cooley LLP and Cooley (UK) LLP acted as legal advisor to Autolus and Goodwin Procter LLP acted as legal advisor to Blackstone.

KEY QUOTES:

“Autolus is a world-class company with an innovative platform and the potential to deliver best-in-class, lifesaving treatments to patients suffering from cancer. Our investment in these next-generation cell therapies exemplify our conviction in the quality and promise of the life sciences sector in the UK. We look forward to building on this investment in the years to come.”

— Dr. Nicholas Galakatos, Global Head of Blackstone Life Sciences

“We welcome Blackstone Life Sciences to join our drive to change the outlook for leukemia and lymphoma patients, notably those with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blackstone’s investment and expertise will support the development and preparation for commercialization of obe-cel and put the program and the Company on a strong financial footing as we are approaching the read-out from the potentially pivotal FELIX clinical trial during the course of 2022.” 

— Dr. Christian Itin, Chief Executive Officer of Autolus

“We are excited to collaborate with Autolus in support of their innovative platform pursuing safer, more durable, therapies with the potential to be lifesaving options for patients with ALL and beyond. We see a significant opportunity to improve the outlook for cancer patients who are facing a devastating course of their disease. This investment continues to build on our conviction in not just innovative cell and gene therapies, but also supporting innovation in the United Kingdom and Europe broadly.”

— Nicholas Simon, Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Life Sciences

“This is another vote of confidence in the quality of life science in the UK, reinforcing our reputation as a world leader in discovering new cures for currently untreatable diseases like Autolus’ T cell therapy drugs for leukemia. Big investments like these give real hope to those suffering from diseases like leukemia – and create high skill jobs & opportunities in the development and manufacturing of treatments to help develop and boost our life science clusters all around the UK.”

— UK Science Minister George Freeman

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes. Before making any investment, you should do your own analysis.