Baxalta, Precision BioSciences Form $1.6 Billion CAR T Cell Therapy Pact
Baxalta and Precision BioSciences, a genome-editing company, have formed a global collaboration to develop a broad series of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies in multiple cancers in a deal valued up to $1.6 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, Baxalta and Precision BioSciences will develop CAR T therapies for up to six unique targets, with the first program expected to enter clinical studies in late 2017. Precision BioSciences will be responsible for performing early-stage research activities up to Phase II, following which Baxalta has the exclusive right to opt in for late-stage development and commercialization. Precision BioSciences will receive an upfront payment of $105 million from Baxalta, with additional option fees, developmental, clinical, regulatory, and sales milestones, potentially totaling up to $1.6 billion, in addition to royalties on worldwide sales. Precision also has the right to participate in the development and commercialization of any licensed products resulting from the collaboration through a 50/50 co-development and co-promotion option in the United States. Additional terms and initial targets were not disclosed.
Most CAR T cell therapy technologies isolate cells from cancer patients' blood and re-engineer them to specifically target receptors on tumor cells. The reprogrammed cells are multiplied in a laboratory and then returned to the patient to target the tumor. This approach has had initial success in clinical trials for certain tumor types, but scaling challenges remain based on the highly personalized nature of the therapy. Precision BioSciences' proprietary ARCUS genome-editing technology enables the production of CAR T cells derived from healthy donors rather than relying on the patient. This approach aims to overcome the manufacturing-related limitations with existing CAR T therapies and enable a broader range of malignancies to be targeted.