Juno Therapeutics, based in Seattle, and Fate Therapeutics, headquartered in San Diego, have executed a four-year strategic research collaboration and license agreement to identify and utilize small molecules to modulate Juno's genetically-engineered T cell product candidates to improve their therapeutic potential for cancer patients.
The collaboration brings together Juno's experience in the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) based cellular immunotherapies and Fate's innovative platform for programming the biological properties and in vivo therapeutic potential of hematopoietic cells.
"A deep understanding of T cell biology is the basis of Juno's approach to creating best-in-class cellular immunotherapies," said Hans Bishop, CEO of Juno Therapeutics. "Partnering with Fate Therapeutics and accessing its strong science and platform for modulating the properties of immunological cells enables interrogation of new avenues of T cell manipulation and provides an opportunity to enhance the therapeutic profile of our genetically-engineered T cell product candidates."
Fate will be responsible for screening and identifying small molecules that modulate the biological properties of engineered T cells. Juno will be responsible for the development and commercialization of engineered T cell immunotherapies incorporating Fate's small molecule modulators. Juno has the option to extend the exclusive research term for two years through an additional payment and continued funding of collaboration activities.
"We are excited to establish this strategic alliance with Juno, a company that shares our deep commitment to developing transformative cellular therapeutics for patients afflicted with life-threatening disorders," said Christian Weyer, M.D., M.A.S., president and CEO of Fate Therapeutics. "This partnership exemplifies the extension of our small molecule programming platform to additional hematopoietic cell types, such as T cells, as we continue to build and advance our innovative pipeline of programmed hematopoietic cellular therapeutic candidates."
Financial terms include an upfront payment to Fate of $5 million and the purchase by Juno of one million shares of Fate common stock at $8 per share. Juno will fund all mutual collaboration activities for an exclusive four-year research term. For each product developed by Juno that incorporates modulators identified through the collaboration, Fate is eligible to receive approximately $50 million in target selection fees and clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as low single-digit royalties on sales. Fate retains exclusive rights to its intellectual property for all purposes outside of programmed CAR and TCR immunotherapies.