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The Wall Street Journal: Blackstone to invest up to $250 million in British biotech company Autolus

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
AUTL,
-1.59%

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.

Blackstone
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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.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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