Blackstone Inc. is investing as much as $250 million in U.K. biotechnology company Autolus Therapeutics PLC to fund the final stages of development of a new therapy to treat a serious form of leukemia, the companies said.
Of the total investment, as much as $150 million will support the development and commercialization of obecabtagene autoleucel, a cell therapy that targets a condition called acute lymphoblastic leukemia. London-based Autolus
will receive $50 million of that upfront, with the rest to be paid as the company achieves certain milestones. In return, Blackstone’s life-sciences unit will receive a portion of the therapy’s royalties.
will also buy $100 million worth of Autolus’s American depositary shares, taking a significant stake in a company whose market capitalization stood at $404 million as of Friday’s close after a fairly steady decline since its 2018 initial public offering. The private-equity company will get a seat on Autolus’s board.
The investment is a bet on Autolus’s model of cell therapy, which could be applied to other forms of cancer. It is also indicative of a broader bullishness on the part of the unit and Blackstone on investing in the U.K., where it has found lower valuations and less competition.
Also popular on WSJ.com: