Roche's Genentech inks $3bn+ pact with Adaptimmune to make cell therapies ‘curative and mainstream’

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/luismmolina
© GettyImages/luismmolina

Related tags Cell therapies Roche Allogeneic Cancer

Adaptimmune Therapeutics, which focuses on solid tumors, has announced a tie-up with Roche's Genentech to develop and commercialize allogeneic cell therapies to treat multiple oncology indications.

The collaboration covers R&D of ‘off-the-shelf’ cell therapies for up to five shared cancer targets along with the development of a novel allogeneic personalized cell therapy platform.

The partners have not disclosed any details on indications or likely targets.

The UK biotech will receive US$150m upfront, as well as US$150m over the next five years in additional payments, and development, regulatory and commercial milestones payments potentially exceeding US$3bn in aggregate value, combined with royalties, across multiple programs.

Adaptimmune also has the right to opt in to a 50/50 US profit/cost share on ‘off-the-shelf’ products.

Adrian Rawcliffe, Adaptimmune’s CEO, said the idea behind this collaboration is that eventually any patient can receive a T-cell product for their cancer. It is “a significant step towards our goal of making cell therapies both curative and mainstream.”

James Sabry, global head of pharma partnering at Roche, commented. “This partnership, which combines Adaptimmune’s allogeneic platform with Genentech’s expertise in developing personalized therapies, complements our other efforts to discover and develop personalized cell therapies. It holds the promise to change how we treat cancer and brings us another step closer to making personalized healthcare a reality.”

Engineered TCRs

The collaboration agreement will not include CAR-T approaches, the focus is on T cell receptors (TCRs). 

For each component of the collaboration, Adaptimmune will take on the development of clinical candidates using its induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived allogeneic platform to produce T-cells (iT cells). Genentech will be responsible for the input TCRs and subsequent clinical development and commercialization.

Adaptimmune’s SPEAR (Specific Peptide Enhanced Affinity Receptor) T-cell platform is designed to enable the engineering of T-cells to target and destroy cancer across multiple solid tumors.

"We have chosen engineered TCRs as our initial approach to developing cell therapies, because they can recognize peptide fragments from proteins expressed inside and outside the cell, allowing the targeting of a large number of proteins,"​ a spokesperson for the UK biotech told us.

Clinical trial data

ASCO 2021 in May saw Adaptimmune release data from its Phase 2 SPEARHEAD-1 trial on its lead TCR candidate, afami-cel, showcasing responses in 13 of 33 second-line sarcoma patients.   

“We have shown a high response rate and these responses are still evolving in many patients with increasing depths of response over time and encouraging durability. I am confident that SPEARHEAD-1 will support our BLA submission next year and offer a life-changing treatment for people with synovial sarcoma,”​ said the CEO at the time.

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