Jounce Therapeutics has entered into a major strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation to develop and commercialize Jounce’s lead product candidate JTX-2011, and other immunotherapies targeting B-cells and T regulatory cells.
JTX-2011, Jounce’s product lead candidate, is a monoclonal antibody that binds to and activates ICOS (Inducible T cell CO-Stimulator), a protein on the surface of certain T-cells that is thought to stimulate immune response against cancer. The two companies are developing JTX-2011 to treat solid tumors as a single agent and in combination with other therapies. The product is expected to enter clinical development in 2016.
Terms of the collaboration dictate that Jounce receive an upfront payment of $225 million and a $36 million equity investment from Celgene. Jounce will also receive regulatory, development and net sales milestone payments, and royalties on sales outside the United States.
Celgene will have the option to opt-in at certain stages of development throughout the programs, after which the two companies can share profits and losses, as follows:
- Jounce will keep 60% of all profits on JTX-2011 in the U.S. – Celgene will keep 40%;
- Jounce will have 25% of U.S. profits on the first additional program – Celgene will have 75%;
- Jounce will share U.S. profits with Celgene on up to three additional programs;
- If Celgene opts-in, all development costs will be shared in a manner that is commensurate with product rights;
- Celgene will receive exclusive commercialization rights outside the U.S. for each of the above-mentioned programs – Jounce will be eligible to receive royalties on any resulting sales outside the United States; and
- Celgene and Jounce will equally share global profits for the checkpoint program for JTX-2011.
Aggregate payments for development, regulatory and commercial milestones could be worth $2.3 billion across all programs that effectively reach commercialization.
“Jounce has built a unique immuno-oncology platform and pipeline with a focus on the development of novel cancer therapies matched to patient populations most likely to respond,” Dr. Robert Hershberg, Celgene’s Chief Scientific Officer, said in a press release. “This collaboration allows both companies to leverage broad capabilities in immuno-oncology to bring forward a new generation of product candidates for cancer patients.”