News Feature | June 4, 2014

Adaptimmune Collaborates With GSK On Lead Cancer Immunotherapy

By Estel Grace Masangkay

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Biotech firm Adaptimmune announced that it has signed into a collaboration and licensing agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop and commercialize its lead clinical cancer immunotherapy program.

Adaptimmune has developed T-cell receptors (TCR) designed to target the cancer testis antigen NY-ESO-1, among others. The company’s technology utilizes patients’ own re-engineered white blood cells to improve the body’s ability to destroy tumors. The NY-ESO-1 program is currently under investigation in sarcoma, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and melanoma in U.S. trials. EU studies for the program are set to begin soon.

GSK could pay Adaptimmune of over $350 million over the next seven years to co-develop the program and other TCR target candidates. The company, which recently sold its cancer drugs portfolio to Novartis last month, gains an option to NY-ESO-1 through clinical proof of concept. Once exercised, GSK will take over the full development and commercialization of the program. The agreement also entitles Adaptimmune to additional milestone payments once GSK exercises all its options, along with tiered royalties on net sales.

James Noble, CEO of Adaptimmune, said that GSK’s strengths in immuno-oncology will help propel Adaptimmune programs’ development towards establishing potential breakthrough cancer therapies. The firm said that it will immediately embark on further TCR programs with GSK as part of its strategic commitment to the partnership.

Axel Hoos, vice president of Oncology R&D and head of Immuno-Oncology of GSK, said that the company looks forward to jointly developing the cancer immunotherapies with the biotech firm. “We believe that Adaptimmune’s T-cell receptor engineering technology will be synergistic with the growing immuno-oncology portfolio of GSK and leverage our existing expertise in autologous cell gene therapy. Together this combination of capabilities offers an opportunity for significant progress in the use of the body’s immune system to fight cancer.”

The development work of the collaboration will take place in Adaptimmune’s laboratories in Oxfordshire’s ‘golden triangle’ around Oxford, Cambridge, and London.

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