Collaboration to develop gamma delta CAR T cell product candidates

bluebird bio and Scottish immunotherapy company TC BioPharm, announced a strategic collaboration and license agreement focused on gamma delta CAR T cells

bluebird bio and TC BioPharm will work together to advance TC BioPharm’s lead CAR engineered gamma delta T cell programme into clinical trials, as well as on additional haematologic and solid tumour targets.

“Emerging research suggests that gamma delta T cells may constitute a powerful platform for CAR T cell therapies,” said Philip Gregory, Chief Scientific Officer, bluebird bio.

“TCB is a leader in the gamma delta T cell field, with extensive capabilities spanning early research, clinical development and manufacturing. The combination of our deep expertise in CAR T cell biology, translational and clinical experience with leading CAR T cell drug products, and powerful gene therapy toolbox, offers a high degree of synergy.”

“This partnership aims to help realise the full potential of the gamma delta T cell platform to bring novel and transformative therapies to cancer patients with high unmet medical need.”

Dr Michael Leek, Chief Executive at TCB, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside bluebird bio to discover and develop next-generation CAR T cell therapies based on our innovative ImmuniCAR platform. Both companies share the same dynamic culture, passion and drive, spearheaded by an overwhelming desire to treat cancer patients — with the potential to dramatically improve each individual’s prognosis and quality of life.”

“We believe our gamma delta T cell platform has broad therapeutic potential,” said Dr Artin Moussavi, Chief Business Officer of TC BioPharm.

“The collaboration with bluebird bio, a leader in cell and gene therapy, recognises the enormous potential of ImmuniCAR to deliver life-changing medicines.”

“bluebird bio is leveraging its industry-leading toolbox of advanced cell and gene therapy technologies to accelerate immuno-oncology targets from concept to clinic,” said Joanne Smith-Farrell, bluebird’s senior VP, Corporate Development and Strategy.

“The agreement with TCB complements bluebird bio’s growing immuno-oncology development programme, which includes clinical and pre-clinical CAR T and T Cell Receptor programmes that leverage bluebird bio’s leading translational research and deep vector technology expertise to rapidly accelerate from target identification to clinical development.”

Under the terms of the agreement, bluebird bio and TCB will collaborate to discover and develop CAR engineered gamma delta T cells for cancer targets and indications. TCB is responsible for development of all targets through Phase 1/2, at which point bluebird has the exclusive option to assume sole responsibility for further clinical development and commercialisation on a global basis.

Financial terms of the agreement include a $16 million upfront payment and subsequent potential R&D and commercial milestone payments. TCB is also eligible to receive undisclosed tiered royalties on product sales.

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