Cytovia Therapeutics and Cellectis announced that they have entered into a strategic research and development collaboration to develop TALEN gene-edited iPSC NK and CAR-NK cells.
The financial terms of the partnership include up to $760 million of development, regulatory, and sales milestones from Cytovia to Cellectis for the first 5 TALEN gene-edited iPSC-derived NK products (“partnership products”). Cellectis will also receive single-digit royalty payments on the net sales of all partnered products commercialized by Cytovia. Cellectis will receive an equity stake of US$ 15 million in Cytovia stock or an upfront cash payment of US$ 15 million if certain conditions are not met by December 31, 2021, as well as an option to invest in future financing rounds.
“We are excited to collaborate with Cellectis, a gene-editing pioneer and leader in the development of gene-edited allogeneic cancer therapies, to further accelerate Cytovia’s NK cell programs,” said Dr. Daniel Teper, chairman & CEO of Cytovia Therapeutics. “Cellectis has a deep understanding and proven expertise in gene-edited cell therapies, and their gene editing technology, TALEN, will yield NK and CAR-NK treatments with improved potency, persistence, and safety for a variety of cancers, including solid tumors. We look forward to leveraging Cellectis’ insights and experience to help move Cytovia’s CAR-NKs into clinical trials by 2022.
Cellectis will develop custom TALEN, which Cytovia will use to edit iPSCs. Cytovia will be responsible for the differentiation and expansion of the gene-edited iPSC master cell bank into NK cells and will conduct the pre-clinical evaluation, clinical development, and commercialization of the mutually-agreed-upon selected therapeutic candidates. Cellectis is granting Cytovia a worldwide license to its TALEN gene-editing technology, enabling Cytovia to modify NK cells addressing multiple gene targets for therapeutic use in several cancer indications.
“We are thrilled to partner with Cytovia, a pioneer in the development of NK cells derived from iPSCs,” said Dr. André Choulika, CEO of Cellectis. We are looking forward to this collaboration and the opportunity to further expand the potency of our proprietary TALEN gene-editing technology to iPSCs and CAR-NKs. Down the road, this collaboration should allow for NK cell therapies to be made available to cancer patients, which is very much in line with Cellectis’ mission to provide life-saving product candidates to address unmet patient needs in this field.”