Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Adicet Bio have announced a new strategic collaboration and licensing agreement to develop next-generation immune cell therapeutics in several hematological and solid tumors.
The two partners will develop immune cells with fully human chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T-cell receptors (TCRs) that can target disease-specific cell surface antigens and efficiently engage and eliminate tumor cells.
T-cells developed with molecules that target tumors – like CARs and TCRs – are an emerging approach to restore the ability of our immune system to efficiently identify and eliminate tumors. However, there are still several limitations to the current techniques used to engineer these cells, as most approaches rely on ex vivo (outside of the body) editing of the patient’s own immune cells, creating many developmental challenges.
Both companies plan to pursue off-the-shelf cellular therapies (products made according to a standardized model). In addition, while some of these product candidates have already demonstrated promising results in certain blood cancers, like leukemia or lymphoma, their effectiveness on solid tumors is not yet confirmed.
The collaboration aims to improve access to, and elimination of, solid tumor cells through Adicet’s cell platform now under development, and innovative targeting approaches.
“Adicet’s immune cell technology, developed under the leadership of pioneering biotech executive Aya Jakobovits, complements our growing suite of immuno-oncology approaches and therapeutics,” Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, Regeneron’s chief scientific officer and president of Regeneron Laboratories, said in a press release.
“Our proprietary technology platforms give us the ability to develop optimized monoclonal and bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates and now CARs and TCRs for engineered immune cell therapeutics, opening the door to many different combination approaches to treat cancer patients.”
Regeneron will pay Adicet an upfront payment of $25 million, as well as research funding over five years. Regeneron has the option for the development and commercial rights for certain products, while Adicet can participate in the development and commercialization of these products or receive royalty payments later on.
“We are excited to join forces with Regeneron, an industry leader in the development of cutting-edge platform technologies and immune-based products,” said Aya Jakobovits, PhD, Adicet president and CEO. “The collaboration leverages complementary strengths and technologies of the two companies and expands Adicet’s ability to grow a broad pipeline of novel immune cell products to fight different cancer indications.”