Pfizer and Cellectis, a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology, have entered into a global strategic collaboration to develop Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) immunotherapies directed at select targets.
Cellectis’ CAR-T platform technology provides a proprietary, allogeneic approach (utilizing engineered T-cells from a single donor for use in multiple patients) to developing CAR-T therapies that is distinct from other autologous approaches (engineering a patient’s own T-cells to target tumor cells).
Pfizer has exclusive rights to pursue development and commercialization of CAR-T therapies, directed at a total of 15 targets selected by Pfizer. Both companies will work together on preclinical research and Pfizer will be responsible for the development and potential commercialization of any CAR-T therapies for the Pfizer-selected targets. In addition, the agreement provides for a total of 12 targets selected by Cellectis. Both companies will work together on preclinical research on four Cellectis-selected targets and Cellectis will work independently on eight additional targets. Cellectis will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of CAR-T therapeutics for the Cellectis-selected targets. Pfizer has right of first refusal to the four Cellectis-selected targets.
Cellectis will receive an upfront payment of $80 million, as well as funding for R&D costs associated with Pfizer-selected targets and the four Cellectis-selected targets within the collaboration. Cellectis is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $185 million per Pfizer product. Cellectis also is eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales of any products that are commercialized by Pfizer.
Additionally, Pfizer will agree to purchase approximately 10% of the Cellectis capital through newly issued shares at $12.55 per share, pending Cellectis shareholder approval. In the event the sale of equity is not approved by the Cellectis shareholders, Pfizer has the option to terminate the collaboration agreement.
Cellectis expects to open a site in the U.S. to work more closely with scientists at Pfizer.
“We believe our CAR-T platform technology has the potential to offer a real advantage over other approaches to T-cell receptor engineering, and this collaboration with Pfizer is an important step towards realizing the full potential of this technology in harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer,” said Andre Choulika, Ph.D., chairman and CEO at Cellectis. “This alliance provides access to Pfizer’s state-of-the-art therapeutic development capabilities and provides a unique opportunity to advance this innovative work with the goal of developing best-in-class CAR-T therapeutics.”