Seattle Genetics and Unum enter into strategic cancer immunotherapy collaboration

Collaboration combines Seattle Genetics' expertise in cancer targets and antibody based therapies with Unum's novel antibody-coupled T-cell receptor (ACTR) technology

Seattle Genetics and Unum Therapeutics have entered into a strategic collaboration and licence agreement to develop and commercialise novel antibody-coupled T-cell receptor (ACTR) therapies for cancer.

Unum's proprietary ACTR technology enables a patient's T-cells to be programmed to attack tumour cells when co-administered with tumour-specific therapeutic antibodies. Seattle Genetics, through its extensive work in the field of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), has a substantial portfolio of cancer targets and tumour-specific monoclonal antibodies from which programmes will be selected for the collaboration.

‘This collaboration is an exciting extension of our work, empowering antibodies to provide new therapeutic options for cancer patients,’ said Dr Clay B. Siegall, President and CEO of Seattle Genetics.

‘Unum's innovative technology for a universal, antibody directed cellular immunotherapy is differentiated from other engineered T-cell approaches and may have broad applicability across a range of cancer targets. We are pleased to be collaborating with one of the most promising companies in the emerging field of cellular immunotherapy to develop new treatment options for cancer patients with unmet medical needs,’ he added.

‘Unum's strategy is to develop and commercialise a universal cellular immunotherapy that can be used in combination with a variety of antibodies to attack a wide range of haematological and solid tumours,’ said Dr Charles Wilson, President and CEO of Unum Therapeutics. ‘We are delighted to collaborate with Seattle Genetics in the development of ACTR therapies. Their leadership in antibody based therapies and expertise in the development of cancer treatments will be invaluable as we work together to bring potentially breakthrough therapies to patients.’

The companies will initially develop two ACTR products incorporating Seattle Genetics' antibodies, and Seattle Genetics has an option to expand the collaboration to include a third ACTR product. Unum will conduct preclinical research and clinical development activities through phase I with funding from Seattle Genetics. The companies will work together to co-develop and jointly fund programmes after phase I unless either company opts out.

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