Both companies work in the cell and gene therapy space, with TxCell moving towards a first-in-man study of its chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-Treg technology and Sangamo Therapeutics using its zinc-finger technology to explore gene editing, which managed to catch the interest of Pfizer.
According to TxCell CEO, Stéphane Boissel, the company had consulted with various potential partners beginning in March of this year but settled on Sangamo, with discussions concluding on Friday of last week.
Why Sangamo proved to be the most suitable partner was explained by Boissel: “We were looking for a good return for our shareholders but we were also looking for someone that could continue the project as we’ve built it – keep the team, keep the site and not be too disruptive to the business. These points were critical to us.”
He continued, “In addition, we wanted a business whose technology would be synergistic. The next step of our business would be gene editing and Sangamo has one of three gene editing tools that are most commonly used. That was a perfect fit.”
The next step for the partnership will be to take its lead candidate, TX-200, into first-in-man studies at the beginning of 2019. TxCell activated its option to in-license the candidate only last week from partners the University of British Columbia.
Noting the advance this represented for the technology, Boissel said, “This CAR-Treg technology has never been tested in humans before, not in China, Europe or the US, so that’s a very critical milestone for this technology.”
The expectation for the technology is that it will be able to prevent the immune system from rejecting solid tumour transplantation. Beyond this, it is thought that it may prove useful in treating autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.