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December 3, 2015

bluebird bio, ViroMed Team Up to Develop CAR T-Cell Therapies

  • bluebird bio and ViroMed said today they will team up to research, develop, and commercialize chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies using ViroMed’s humanized antibody to an undisclosed cancer target for solid tumors.

    The collaboration could generate for ViroMed $48 million per product developed tied to achieving development and regulatory milestones, plus a $1 million upfront fee that bluebird has agreed to pay. ViroMed is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on product sales.

    In return, ViroMed agreed to give exclusive rights to its humanized antibody to bluebird, which will use its lentiviral gene therapy platform and CAR T capabilities to develop CAR T therapies against the target.

    “We believe that this target, combined with our lentiviral vector and manufacturing expertise, position us as a leader in delivering potentially transformative T cell-based immunotherapies to patients,” Rob Ross. M.D., bluebird’s head of oncology, said in a statement.

    Added Seung Shin Yu, Ph.D., director of new business planning for ViroMed. “bluebird bio owns critical technologies for the development of CAR T therapeutics as well as manufacturing capabilities and know-how for commercialization, making them an ideal partner for us.”

    bluebird bio will conduct and fund clinical development as well as regulatory and commercial activities, the companies said.

    The collaboration with ViroMed is one of several launched or extended this year by bluebird bio. The company is partnering with Five Prime Therapeutics on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for an undisclosed cancer; with Kite Pharma on second-generation T-cell receptor (TCR) product candidates directed against the human papillomavirus type 16 E6 (HPV-16 E6) oncoprotein; and with Celgene on treatments targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). The Celgene collaboration was narrowed in June to multiple myeloma.

    ViroMed focuses on DNA/protein-based biopharmaceuticals and phytotherapeutics. The company’s major therapeutic areas are cardiovascular disease and cancer—but the bluebird collaboration brings the company into CAR T therapeutics.

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