By Estel Grace Masangkay
Pfizer and Cellectis, a biopharmaceutical firm focused on oncology, announced that the companies have signed into a global strategic collaboration to develop Cellectis’ CAR-T immunotherapies aimed at cancer targets.
The Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) platform is a proprietary allogeneic approach that produces CAR-T therapies. CAR-T use engineered T-cells from a single donor for use in several patients and differ from autologous approaches in which a patient’s own T-cells are reengineered to attack tumor cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer gains exclusive rights to develop and market oncology CAR-T therapies aimed at 15 targets selected by Pfizer. The agreement also allows for a total of 12 targets selected by Cellectis. The partners will collaborate on preclinical research. Pfizer will be solely responsible for the development and commercialization of its own CAR-T therapy targets, and will collaborate with Cellectis on pre-clinical research for four of its selected targets. Cellectis will be responsible for pre-clinical research, clinical development, and marketing for the remaining eight targets. Pfizer reserves the right of first refusal to the four Cellectis-selected CAR-T targets.
Cellectis said it expects to open a site in the U.S. in view of its collaboration with Pfizer. Andre Choulika, Chairman and CEO of Cellectis, said, “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… We look forward to working closely with the team at Pfizer on researching and developing novel CAR-T therapies that could potentially change the way cancer is treated.”
As part of the agreement, Cellectis will receive an upfront payment of $80 million and additional funding for research and development costs. Pfizer will also pay Cellectis development, regulatory, and commercial milestones of up to $185 million per Pfizer product.
Mikael Dolsten, President of R&D at Pfizer, said, “Combining the innovation and scientific expertise of Cellectis with Pfizer’s deep oncology and immunology experience creates a world-class partnership designed to deliver a new generation of CAR-T immunotherapies for cancer patients with urgent medical needs.”