Immatics Biotechnologies and Celgene have signed a collaboration and option deal worth up to $1.59bn (£1.3bn) to develop novel adoptive cell therapies against multiple cancers.
Based in Germany, Immatics is a clinical-stage biopharma company engaged in the discovery and development of T-cell redirecting cancer immunotherapies.
The German firm is expected to develop T-Cell Receptor Engineered T-cell Therapy (TCR-T) programs targeting solid tumour targets that were discovered by its XPRESIDENT technology. The programmes will use T-Cell Receptors (TCRs) identified by the company’s XCEPTOR TCR discovery and engineering platform.
As per the terms of the agreement, the company will get an upfront payment of $75m (£61.45m) for three TCR-T programs from the US-based Celgene. Furthermore, the company stands to be paid up to $505m (£413.75m) for each of the three licensed products in the form of option exercise payments, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and also tiered royalties on net sales.
Immatics, on its part, will handle the development and validation of the programs through lead candidate stage, at which the US biotech company can exercise opt-in rights. Celgene will also take up full responsibility from that stage for further worldwide development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the TCR-T-cell therapies.
The German company will keep some early stage co-development rights or co-funding rights for certain TCR-T-cell therapies that will emerge from the collaboration.
Immatics CEO Harpreet Singh said: “This alliance leverages Immatics’ excellence in developing adoptive cell therapies (ACT) and complements our proprietary clinical pipeline of ACT products and our strong portfolio of Bispecific products.
“By combining Immatics’ world-leading discovery engines as well as our cellular manufacturing and clinical development platforms with Celgene’s broad expertise in cell therapy research, development and commercialization, the companies join forces to enable the development of truly novel opportunities for patients with solid tumors who currently have no other treatment options.”
Earlier this week, Celgene agreed to offload its psoriasis drug Otezla (apremilast) to Amgen for $13.4bn (£10.98bn). The deal has been taken up to help Bristol-Myers Squibb close its previously announced $74bn (£60.63bn) acquisition of Celgene by addressing certain competition concerns in the US.