bluebird bio, Celegene Amend Immunotherapy Pact

Celgene has amended its existing global collaboration with bluebird bio, Inc., a clinical-stage company developing gene therapies and T cell-based immunotherapies, to focus on product candidates targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) during a three-year collaboration term. The original collaboration, initiated in 2013, was focused on applying gene-therapy technology to genetically modify a patient's own T cells to target and destroy cancer cells. BCMA is the first target selected to advance to the clinic under this collaboration. BCMA is a cell surface protein that is expressed in normal plasma cells and in most multiple myeloma cells, but is absent from other normal tissues.

Celgene and bluebird bio will work collaboratively on the initial, lead anti-BCMA product candidate (bb2121), with a Phase I clinical trial expected to begin enrollment in early 2016, and develop anti-BCMA product candidates. bluebird bio retains sole rights to develop all other chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell programs developed by bluebird bio under the collaboration, including ongoing undisclosed preclinical programs with opportunities in both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

Under the amended and restated collaboration agreement: bluebird bio will receive a $25 million payment to develop the lead anti-BCMA product candidate through a Phase I clinical trial and develop next-generation anti-BCMA product candidates; bluebird bio will be responsible for the development of all anti-BCMA product candidates through the completion of Phase I studies. Additionally, on a product-by-product basis within the anti-BCMA product program, Celgene has an option to develop and commercialize each product candidate worldwide, and bluebird bio has the option to share equally in the development, promotion, and profits of each product candidate in the United States. In addition to these payments, Celgene would also pay bluebird bio specified development and regulatory milestone payments as well as royalty payments on net sales.

Source: bluebird bio

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