The agreement will see Oxford Biomedica partner with Juno Therapeutics, a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy developer, acquired in 2018 by Celgene, which is, in turn, now a Bristol Myers Squibb company.
Under a non-exclusive license, Oxford Biomedica will provide Juno with access to its LentiVector platform, supporting the development of the latter’s CAR-T and T cell receptor therapeutics (TCR-T) programs.
Moreover, the companies have agreed to a five-year long clinical supply of lentiviral vectors for Juno’s development projects, with the potential for further extension of the agreement.
Per the financial terms, Oxford Biomedica will receive an upfront cash payment of $10m (€9.3m); up to $86m (€80.1m) dependent on development and regulatory milestones; and up to $131m (€122.1m) in sales-based milestone payments.
The manufacturing work has begun at Oxford Biomedica's commercial manufacturing center located in Oxford, UK, with the manufacturer working on four undisclosed projects.
Juno and BMS are putting significant efforts into optimizing manufacturing for CAR-T development projects, since a potential approval would see any product arrive as the third to market, after the commercialization of Novartis’ Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), and Gilead’s Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel).
In December 2019, BMS won a patent infringement suit against Gilead on Yescarta, which saw the latter’s subsidiary, Kite, ordered to pay Juno $752m – though Juno then requested the judge to raise that penalty to $1.5bn.