bluebird bio and Regeneron to collaborate on new cancer cell therapies

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Bluebird bio and Regeneron Therapeutics have announced a collaboration which will see the two companies work together for the development and commercialization of novel immune cell therapies for cancer, using their respective technology platforms.

The collaboration will specifically make use of bluebird’s technologies which use a customized lentiviral vector to modify T cells so that they are able to recognize tumor-specific proteins expressed by cancer cells and kill them upon engagement. With Regeneron’s complementary VelociSuite® technologies, which enable the creation of fully-human antibodies and T cell receptors, there is potential to expand the types of tumors that modified T cells can safely and effectively target through enabling the T cells to reach extracellular and intracellular tumor antigens.

They have agreed to a five-year research collaboration term, and have jointly selected six initial targets, and additional targets may be selected over this period. The cost of research and development up to the point of submitting an Investigational New Drug (IND) application will be shared equally by the companies. Under the terms of the agreement, Regeneron will have the right to opt-in to a co-development/co-commercialization arrangement for certain collaboration targets when an IND is submitted, with 50/50 cost and profit sharing. If they choose not to opt-in, they will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties from bluebird bio from any potential resulting products.

Regeneron will also invest $100 million in common stock of bluebird bio at $238.10 per share, representing a premium of 59% over the $150 closing price on August 3rd. The resulting $37 million premium will be credited against Regeneron’s initial 50 percent funding obligation for basic collaboration research, after which ongoing research cost will be funded equally.

“The collaboration with Regeneron complements bluebird bio’s growing immuno-oncology development portfolio, which includes clinical and pre-clinical CAR T and T cell receptor programs,” scommented Philip Gregory, D.Phil., Chief Scientific Officer of bluebird bio. “With Regeneron’s proven targeting technologies, in combination with our deep expertise in cell biology and vector technology, as well as clinical experience with leading CAR T cell drug products, we hope to rapidly advance novel cellular therapies with the potential to transform the lives of people with cancer.”

Source: bluebird bio and Regeneron Announce Collaboration to Discover, Develop and Commercialize New Cell Therapies for Cancer
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