Pfizer and Cellectis enter cancer immunotherapy collaboration

Partners will use Cellectis’ allogeneic CAR-T technology to develop cancer drugs

Pfizer and French biotechnology company Cellectis are to develop Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) immunotherapy drugs in the field of cancer.

Under the deal Cellectis will receive an upfront payment of US$80m from Pfizer, as well as funding for research costs.

Cellectis will also be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $185m per Pfizer product, plus tiered royalties on any future sales.

Pfizer has exclusive rights to develop products against 15 targets for fighting cancer that the company selects, while another 12 targets can selected by Cellectis.

In addition, Pfizer will purchase approximately 10% of Cellectis capital through newly issued shares at EUR9.25 each, pending Cellectis shareholder approval.

The French company is developing Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell, or CAR-T, immunotherapies using engineered cells from a single donor for use in multiple patients.

This so-called allogeneic approach is in contrast to other autologous technologies that rely on engineering a patient's own T-cells and the aim is to make it possible to treat cancer using a standardised, off-the-shelf therapeutic product.

'This leading immuno-oncology collaboration aimed at delivering immunotherapies is built upon Cellectis’ advanced genome editing and cell engineering capability and Pfizer’s cutting-edge biotherapeutic cancer therapy platform,' said Mikael Dolsten, President of R&D at Pfizer.

'Combining the innovation and scientific expertise of Cellectis with Pfizer’s oncology and immunology experience creates a world-class partnership designed to deliver a new generation of CAR-T immunotherapies for cancer patients with urgent medical needs.'

Cellectis says it expects to open a site in the US to work more closely with scientists at Pfizer.

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