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Bellicum selling certain assets to Texas-based cancer center for $15M

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc. will sell certain assets to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for $15 million.

Under the deal, the cancer center will acquire the Houston-based biopharmaceutical company's approximately 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Houston, including manufacturing, office and laboratory space.

MD Anderson will hire about 35 employees from the company's technical operations and quality staff.

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals will also enter into a master services agreement with the cancer center.

The cancer center will use the facility for its own internal programs and for manufacturing Bellicum's cellular therapy programs, such as GoCAR technology, for clinical trials and possible early commercial supply.

GoCAR-T, or BPX-601, is a chimeric antigen receptor T cell product designed to be more effective with its capability to override key immune inhibitory mechanisms. CAR-T therapy involves taking a patient's T cells, a type of immune system cell, and changing them in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells.

Bellicum President and CEO Rick Fair said the agreement will provide the company access to cell therapy product supply and will reduce its operating expenses.

The facility's sale is likely to close in the first quarter of 2020, subject to some conditions such as the building landlord's consent.