Juno Acquires X-BODY For CAR T Platform

Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies, has acquired X-BODY, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company with nine employees based in Waltham, Massachusetts for $21 million in cash and 439,265 shares of Juno stock. Juno has also agreed to make success-based payments in cash to the sellers upon the achievement of certain research, clinical, and regulatory milestones for products that are generated using the X-BODY technology, as well as certain additional cash payments following commercialization.

The acquisition furthers Juno’s strategy of investing in technologies that augment the company’s capabilities to create engineered T cells against a broad array of cancer targets. The acquisition brings in-house to Juno a discovery platform that facilitates selection of fully human antibodies with desired characteristics, even against difficult targets.

Juno will incorporate this platform into its process for creating CAR T constructs, using it to generate new binding domains from fully human naïve single chain variable fragment (scFv)-formatted libraries. Fully-human scFvs have the potential for reduced immunogenicity and improved CAR T cell in vivo persistence. Juno also plans to continue to explore the broader application of the technology to alternative antigen-binding platforms, including its TCR platform.

Since its founding in 2008, by Richard W. Wagner, Ph.D., Brant Binder, and Gordon Binder, X-BODY has been focused on the discovery of human monoclonal antibodies against challenging membrane targets, and more recently the discovery of TCR binding domains. X-BODY has developed technologies that produce highly stable and functional binding molecules. X-BODY uses DNA-encoded human naïve libraries to identify functionally active and selective human binding domains and human monoclonal antibodies against key therapeutic targets.

Source: Juno Therapeutics

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