Medigene, Bluebird Bio in Cancer Pact Worth Over $1.15 billion
Medigene, a Martinsried, Germany-based biotechnology company focused on personalized T-cell-based immunotherapies, has entered a research and development (R&D) collaboration and licensing agreement with bluebird bio, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based clinical-stage gene therapy company, for development of T-cell receptor (TCR) immunotherapies against four oncology targets. Medigene will receive an upfront payment of $15 million as well as potential preclinical, clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, which together could total over $1 billion in the aggregate for the four potential TCR products across several indications. Additionally, Medigene will receive R&D funding for all work performed in the collaboration and is eligible for tiered royalty payments on net sales up to a double-digit percentage.
Under the agreement, Medigene will be responsible for generating and delivering TCRs using its TCR isolation and characterization platform, which is designed to arm the patient’s own T-cells with tumor-specific T-cell receptors, according to information from Medigene. This form of immunotherapy aims to overcome the patient’s tolerance to cancer cells, and the tumor-induced immunosuppression in the patient, by activating and modifying the patient’s T-cells outside the body, according to the company.
Following collaborative preclinical development, bluebird bio will assume sole responsibility for the clinical development and commercialization of the TCR product candidates and will receive an exclusive license for the intellectual property covering the resulting TCRs.