Kite founder’s new firm inks off-the-shelf CAR T deal with Pfizer

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Newly formed company Allogene Therapeutics has teamed with Pfizer to develop allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies.

The asset contribution agreement will see Allogene take over development of Pfizer’s allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy portfolio, including UCART19​ – the lead candidate in its pact with Cellectis – and 16 preclinical assets.

Pfizer will take a 25% stake in Allogene, formed with Series A financing of $300 and led by ex-executives from Kite Pharma – including founder and former CEO, Arie Belldegrun.

Kite, acquired by Gilead Sciences in August​ last year, saw regulatory success​ with its autologous CAR T-cell therapy Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) in October.

Unlike autologous therapies made using a patient’s own engineered T-cells, allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies are made by engineering cells from a healthy donor for use in multiple patients.

“The allogeneic CAR T platform represents a potentially transformative approach to treating cancer, and we are very excited about what the future may hold for this area of research,”​ group head of Oncology R&D at Pfizer, Robert Abraham, said.

“We believe that under the strong scientific, clinical development and regulatory expertise of Allogene’s leadership team, the portfolio of CAR T assets contributed by Pfizer will be well-positioned to rapidly advance into potential innovative new therapies.”

Pfizer acquired a 10% stake in French firm Cellectis in June 2014, and gained exclusive rights to pursue development and commercialization of CAR-T therapies in oncology using Cellectis’ off-the-shelf platform.

Under terms of the Allogene deal, Cellectis remains eligible to receive clinical and commercial milestone payments of up to $2.8bn for any products that are commercialized.

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