Pharma Focus Asia

Cellectis and Allogene Therapeutics Intend to Continue Strategic Cancer Immunotherapy Collaboration

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Cellectis, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing immunotherapies based on gene-edited allogeneic CAR T-cells (UCART), and Allogene Therapeutics, Inc. (Allogene), a biotechnology company focused on the rapid advancement of allogeneic CAR T therapies targeting blood cancers and solid tumors, announced today that Allogene intends to assume from Pfizer the global strategic collaboration to develop “off-the-shelf” CAR T immunotherapies for oncology. This agreement was initially formed with Cellectis in June 2014.

Earlier today, Allogene and Pfizer announced that the two companies have entered into an asset contribution agreement for Pfizer’s allogeneic CAR T-cell therapy portfolio, which includes 16 preclinical assets and UCART19. Subject to certain closing conditions, Allogene will assume the strategic collaboration and license agreement with Cellectis, with exclusive rights to develop and commercialize previously defined allogeneic UCART programs directed at select targets. Cellectis will remain eligible to receive clinical and commercial milestone payments of up to $2.8 billion, or $185 million per target for 15 targets and tiered royalties in the high single digits on net sales of any products that are commercialized by Allogene under the agreement. This new alliance, with Allogene’s dedicated team, is expected to lead to a strong acceleration of CAR T therapies.

Allogene, co-founded and led by former executives of Kite Pharma, is well-positioned to catalyze the next revolution in cell therapy with its leaders’ unrivaled experience in the clinical development of autologous CAR T therapy. Arie Belldegrun M.D., FACS, Founder and former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kite, will serve as Executive Chairman of Allogene, and David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., former Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer of Kite, will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of Allogene.

Cellectis’ CAR T platform provides a proprietary, allogeneic approach that uses engineered T-cells from a healthy donor for use in multiple patients. This is distinct from autologous approaches that use a patient’s own T-cells to target tumor cells.

“Allogeneic represents the next transformative step in medicine, as it will potentially allow patients all over the world to quickly receive these potentially life-saving therapies in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. The last four years of partnership with Pfizer have been very rewarding and productive. Pfizer was among the early adopters of the allogeneic approach, seeing that gene-edited CART programs are the future of immunotherapy to treat cancer. We sincerely thank everyone involved in this collaboration, from the top management to the scientists, for their foresight and their belief in our common portfolio,” said Dr. André Choulika, Ph.D., Cellectis’ Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “We strongly believe Allogene, together with Cellectis, will from the best possible team to continue this collaboration. Our expertise in allogeneic CART and gene-editing combined with the leadership of Drs. Arie Belldegrun and David Chang and their exemplary track record and execution in cell therapy paves the way for the future in off-the-shelf products enhanced by gene editing.”

“We have built mutual trust and respect over the years in the CAR T industry and this collaboration will be the starting point for a long-term partnership,” said David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Allogene. “Our mission at Allogene is to catalyze the next revolution in cancer treatment through the development of allogeneic CAR T therapies directed at blood cancers as well as solid tumors. We believe this collaboration fuels our mission and we look forward to partnering with Cellectis to accelerate the development of allogeneic cell therapies.”

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