RARE Daily

Bluebird Bio Secures up to $175 Million to Support Gene Therapy Commercial Launches

March 18, 2024

Rare Daily Staff

Bluebird Bio has entered into a $175 million five-year term loan facility with Hercules Capital to strengthen its balance sheet as it executes on the commercial launches for its three FDA approved gene therapies for rare diseases.

The therapies include Lyfgenia for sickle cell disease, Zynteglo for beta-thalassemia, and Skysona for cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy.

Recently, Bluebird signed its first Medicaid outcomes-based agreement with the state of Michigan for Lyfgenia, a one-time ex vivo lentiviral vector gene therapy approved for the treatment of patients 12 years of age or older with sickle cell disease and a history of vaso-occlusive events. The list price of the therapy is $3.1 million.

The term loan facility provides for up to $175 million of term loans in aggregate, available in four tranches. Upon closing of the transaction, the first tranche of $75 million was drawn.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bluebird will be eligible to draw two additional tranches of $25 million each, subject to the achievement of commercial milestones. Based on launch trajectory and current business plans, and assuming three tranches totaling $125 million are executed, the transaction is expected to extend Bluebird’s cash runway through the first quarter of 2026.

A fourth tranche of up to $50 million may be available at the sole discretion of Hercules. During the first three years of the five-year term, Bluebird will be responsible for paying only the interest on any amounts borrowed; any outstanding balance as of April 1, 2027, will be amortized over the remaining life of the loan.

“This financing underscores the value Bluebird offers as a standalone gene therapy leader and meaningfully extends our runway, bolstering our ability to bring transformative treatments to patients and their families,” said Chris Krawtschuk, chief financial officer for Bluebird.

Photo: Chris Krawtschuk, chief financial officer for Bluebird

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