Pfizer and Servier secure the rights to Cellectis’ gene-editing technology to fight rare blood cancers.
Cellectis is a gene-editing company that uses CAR-T cell technology, known as UCART19, that reprograms immune system cells to find cancer. UCART19 uses donor cells that can be used by any patient. It’s a form of adoptive cell therapy in which the patient’s T cells are cultured and then primed to specifically recognize CD19, a protein expressed on normal and malignant cells of B-cell lineage.
UCART19 is about to enter Phase 1 development for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The success of these therapies has caused much excitement, and hopes are high that the CAR approach could one day become a frontline treatment for many types of cancer, including solid tumors such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
Pfizer and Servier will work together on a joint clinical development program for UCART19 and share development costs. Pfizer will be responsible for potential commercialization of UCART19 in the United States, and Servier will retain marketing rights in countries outside the United States.
Servier will pay Cellectis a payment of $38.2 million upon signature. Cellectis is eligible for over $300 million of milestone payments, R&D financing, and royalties on sales from Servier, based on annual net sales of commercialized products. Financial terms for the Servier agreement with Pfizer were not disclosed. Under its deal with Pfizer, Servier will work with the on a joint clinical development program for UCART19 and share development costs. Pfizer will oversee potential commercialization of UCART19 in the U.S., while Servier will retain marketing rights elsewhere in the world.
“This collaboration on the development of the UCART19 asset builds on Pfizer’s position in the CAR-T space and our growing portfolio of investigational immuno-oncology assets, which is a major priority for our oncology business,” said Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, president, Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer.
“The partnership between Pfizer and Servier is a major step in the development of UCART19 and our ambition to provide innovative drugs for patients in oncology, as it has been envisioned by Servier’s president, Olivier Laureau,” said Emmanuel Canet, MD, president of Research and Development at Servier.
Servier Exercises Exclusive Worldwide Licensing Option with Cellectis for UCART19, an Allogeneic CAT-T Cell Therapy for Hematological Malignancies [news release]. New York, NY; Cellectis: November 19, 2015. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151118006806/en/Servier-Exercises-Exclusive-Worldwide-Licensing-Option-Cellectis