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GEN News Highlights : May 1, 2013

Novartis, Oxford BioMedica Ink Production Agreement for Lentiviral Gene Therapy

Oxford BioMedica has agreed to produce clinical trial material using its LentiVector® gene delivery technology for Novartis’ use as part of its CTL019 leukemia program, a collaboration with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, the company announced today.

Through this production agreement, Oxford BioMedica will be responsible for manufacturing a lentiviral vector-encoding CTL019 technology, which Novartis et al., will use to transduce patients’ T-cells ex vivo before they are reinfused. In its announcement, Oxford BioMedica notes that CTL019 targets the protein CD19, which is associated with a number of B-cell malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oxford BioMedica stands to make anywhere from £2.5 million ($3.9 million) to £4 million ($6.2 million) during the first year of collaboration, the firm added.

According to Edison Research Investment, Oxford BioMedica’s deal with Novartis is expected to raise the gene-based therapy firm’s valuation from £58.5 million ($91 million) to £60.1 million ($93.6 million) in that same timeframe.

Edison calls the transaction “an attractive deal of Oxford BioMedica,” adding that it could eventually lead to a longer-term supply agreement.

In a statement, Oxford BioMedica CEO John Dawson said that Novartis’ “strategic investment in our specialist manufacturing capabilities is a pivotal step towards building a financially self-sustaining business,” adding that “this collaboration is an example of how we can commercialize our expertise.”