Servier unveils cancer alliance

Servier has signed a deal with biotech firm Cellectis to develop and commercialise novel candidates for leukaemia and solid tumours.

The partnership covers the development and potential commercialisation of Cellectis’ lead product candidate, UCART19. Engineered allogeneic CD19 T-cells currently stand out as a therapeutic innovation for treating various types of leukaemias and lymphomas.

The agreement also included research, development, and potential commercialisation of five other solid tumour candidates.

Cellectis, headquartered in Paris, will oversee the R&D of certain product candidates up to the end of Phase I. Servier can then opt to license each candidate developed, and would then assume control of clinical development, registration and commercialisation.

The deal includes an upfront payment of $10 million and up to $140 million for each of the six product candidates potentially developed. Cellectis will also receive royalties on the sales of commercialised products.

Mathieu Simon, M.D., Senior Vice-President at Cellectis stated: “Our alliance with the Servier Research Group is a real recognition of the value of our innovative approach to treating cancer. This partnership will provide Cellectis with substantial revenues to reach our goals in the biopharmaceutical field. Combining Cellectis’ technical expertise with Servier’s scientific, medical and financial resources will create an exciting new alliance to fuel the development of our unique, novel allogeneic cancer therapies, ultimately benefitting many patients around the world.”

Jean Pierre Abastado, Ph.D., Head of the Oncology Innovation Center at Servier, commented, “these original cell-based therapies will well complement Servier’s innovative clinical oncology pipeline, which currently includes immunotherapeutic monoclonal antibodies, an HDAC inhibitor, kinase inhibitors, antiangiogenic and proapoptotic small molecules”.

Cellectis’ research is focused on therapies based on allogeneic T-cells to treat cancer, drawing on expertise in genome engineering. It is using its proprietary technology to create a new generation of cancer immunotherapy for treating leukaemias and solid tumours. Cellectis adoptive cancer immunotherapy for chronic and acute leukaemias is based on the first allogeneic T-cell chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology.

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