Astellas, Adaptimmune Form Cell Therapy Pact Worth Up to $897.5 million

January 21, 2020

The agreement centers around the development of new stem-cell derived allogeneic T-cell therapies for the treatment of cancer.

Astellas Pharma, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, announced on Jan. 13, 2019 that it is entering into a co-development and co-commercialization agreement for cell therapies with United Kingdom-based Adaptimmune Therapeutics in a deal worth potentially up to $897.5 million.

Under the agreement, Adaptimmune may receive up to $897.5 million in payments, including an upfront payment of $50 million, development milestones totaling up to $73.75 million for each co-developed, co-commercialized product, and research funding of $7.5 million per year, according to an Astellas press release. In turn, Astellas will receive up to $147.5 million in milestone payments per product and up to $110 million in sales milestones for products developed unilaterally by Adaptimmune. Both companies will also obtain tiered royalties on net sales in the mid-single to mid-teen digits.

The agreement centers around the development of new stem-cell derived allogeneic T-cell therapies for the treatment of cancer. The companies will choose up to three targets around which to develop their T-cell candidates, and Astellas will fund research up until completion of a Phase I trial for each candidate. After Phase I is complete, the companies will decide to proceed with co-development and commercialization or to allow one of the companies to proceed with the candidate independently through a milestone and royalty bearing license, with the agreement allowing for either company to opt out.

"In addition to NK [natural killer] cells, T-cells are an important component of cell therapy for immuno-oncology, and we look forward that this agreement with Adaptimmune will enable us to create new stem-cell derived allogeneic T-cell therapies for a variety of cancers, including solid tumors, in the future,” said Naoki Okamura, representative director corporate executive vice-president, chief strategy officer, and chief financial officer, Astellas, in the press release. “We will continue to dedicate our efforts in delivering novel treatments for diseases with high unmet medical needs, pursuing cutting-edge science and technological advances.”

“We are delighted to establish this significant co-development partnership with Astellas, which builds upon and substantially extends an existing collaboration focused on gene editing of iPSC [induced pluripotent stem cells],” added Helen Tayton-Martin, Adaptimmune’s chief business officer and co-founder, in the press release. “This new collaboration may encompass both CAR-T [chimeric antigen receptor T cell] and TCR [T-cell receptor] T-cell approaches, including our novel HLA [human leukocyte antigen]-independent TCR platform. It brings together highly complementary skills and expertise across the two organizations, and will enable the accelerated development of new, off-the-shelf T-cell therapy products for people with cancer.”

Source: Astellas