Immuno-Oncology Resource Center

Immuno-Oncology Resource Center

Issue: February 2020
January 20, 2020
1 min read

Astellas, Adaptimmune Partner to Develop Off-the-Shelf CAR-T and T-cell Therapies

Issue: February 2020
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Helen Tayton-Martin, PhD, MBA
Helen Tayton-Martin

Astellas Pharma announced a research and commercialization deal with Adaptimmune for the codevelopment of new stem cell-derived allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor and other T-cell therapies for the treatment of cancer.

The two companies have agreed to pursue up to three new research targets and codevelop cell therapy candidates directed toward those targets.

Astellas will use its proprietary Universal Donor Cell and Gene Editing Platform that it acquired with the purchase of Universal Cells.

Adaptimmune had a previous relationship with Universal Cells for the development of gene-edited cells for T-cell therapy. The latest deal broadens that collaboration to include development of gene-edited CARs and T-cell receptors, according to Helen Tayton-Martin, PhD, MBA, chief business officer of Adaptimmune.

“Our motivation for making this deal was to accelerate our allogeneic platform, leverage the existing collaboration with Astellas, and to continue our aspiration to broaden out our overall platform from TCRs into CARs,” Tayton-Martin told Healio.

Astellas will provide Adaptimmune with an upfront payment of $50 million as part of the deal’s terms. Additionally, Adaptimmune will receive $7.5 million in research funding each year, and Astellas will finance research of chosen codevelopment targets all the way through to phase 1 proof-of-concept trials. At that point, the companies will have the option to go forward with codevelopment of the candidate treatment, or either company can choose to develop the investigational treatment unilaterally.

“There is a lot of flexibility in the deal, but the underlying theme to all of this is that it’s a co-development and commercialization collaboration,” Tayton-Martin said.

The two companies will split the cost of development and commercialization for treatment candidates they decide to codevelop, with the profits to be split equally.

Tayton-Martin did not specify which disease states would be targeted by the research.

“It’s likely to cover a range of solid tumors, plus some hematological tumors, as well,” she said.

The deal, which is effective immediately, could bring in a total of nearly $900 million for Adaptimmune if commercial incentives are achieved. The agreement could total more than a half a billion dollars for Astellas provided it triggers specific commercial incentives. – by Drew Amorosi

For more information:

Helen Tayton-Martin, PhD, MBA, can be reached at 60 Jubilee Ave., Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RX, United Kingdom; e-mail: