Monday, July 15, 2024

AstraZeneca Partners with Cellectis to Advance Cutting-Edge Therapies in Oncology and Rare Diseases

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In a strategic move to expedite the development of innovative therapeutics targeting unmet medical needs, AstraZeneca has entered into a collaboration and investment agreement with Cellectis, a clinical-stage biotechnology company. This collaboration is poised to impact fields such as oncology, immunology, and rare diseases significantly.

Under the terms of the collaboration, AstraZeneca will harness Cellectis’ proprietary gene editing technologies and manufacturing capabilities to create novel cell and gene therapy products. This initiative strengthens AstraZeneca’s expanding portfolio in the realm of advanced therapeutics. AstraZeneca has secured exclusive access to 25 genetic targets, allowing for the exploration of up to 10 candidate products for potential development.

Marc Dunoyer, Chief Strategy Officer of AstraZeneca, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, emphasizing how Cellectis’ expertise in gene editing and manufacturing complements AstraZeneca’s existing capabilities. He underlined AstraZeneca’s commitment to advancing cell therapy for oncology and autoimmune diseases, as well as genomic medicine, all of which hold transformative potential for patients with rare diseases.

André Choulika, CEO of Cellectis, echoed this sentiment, referring to AstraZeneca as the ideal partner to leverage Cellectis’ pioneering research in gene editing and cell therapies. The collaboration aims to bring life-saving therapies to patients with pressing medical needs.

AstraZeneca has been actively bolstering its expertise in cell and genomic therapy over the past year through collaborations and investments. This strategic focus is geared towards expanding the reach of cell therapies for cancer patients and advancing genomic medicines for individuals with rare diseases.

Financially, Cellectis is set to receive an initial payment of $105 million from AstraZeneca in Q4 2023. This payment encompasses a $25 million upfront cash payment as part of the research collaboration agreement and an $80 million equity investment. AstraZeneca’s initial equity investment, representing a 22% equity stake in Cellectis, underscores their commitment to this partnership. A further equity investment of $140 million, expected in early 2024, subject to certain conditions, would increase AstraZeneca’s equity stake in Cellectis to approximately 44%. This investment is anticipated to be treated as an associate.

Under the research collaboration terms, Cellectis is eligible to receive various milestone payments ranging from $70 million to $220 million per candidate product, along with tiered royalties. AstraZeneca retains the option for a worldwide exclusive license for the candidate products developed under this agreement.

In summary, AstraZeneca’s collaboration with Cellectis signifies a significant step towards advancing cutting-edge therapies in oncology, immunology, and rare diseases. This strategic partnership leverages the strengths of both organizations to accelerate the development of life-changing treatments for patients in need.

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