AstraZeneca has concluded an equity investment in clinical-stage biotechnology company Cellectis.

The investment comes after the companies entered an equity investment and research partnership agreement in November 2023.

The companies will focus on developing up to ten new cell and gene therapy products for areas with high unmet medical needs, including immunology, oncology and rare diseases, using the gene editing technologies and manufacturing expertise of Cellectis.

Cellectis received an initial payment of $105m from AstraZeneca in the fourth quarter of 2023.

This consisted of $25m cash upfront as part of a research partnership deal and $80m in equity investment.

Following approval from Cellectis shareholders and regulatory clearances, an additional $140m equity investment has been finalised at $5 per share.

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AstraZeneca now has a total equity stake of 44% in Cellectis and anticipates continuing to account for its investment in Cellectis as an associate.

The research partnership deal entitles Cellectis to potential additional payments.

These include an investigational new drug (IND) option fee, milestone payments on meeting development, regulatory and sales-related goals between $70m to $220m for each of the ten candidate products, and tiered royalties.

AstraZeneca maintains an option for a global exclusive licence for the candidate products developed through the deal.

The option can be exercised before the filing of an IND, positioning AstraZeneca to expand its portfolio in the strategic areas of cell and gene therapy.

In April 2023, AstraZeneca reported profit after tax of $2.18bn for the first quarter of 2024, a notable rise from $1.80bn reported in the same period of the previous year.

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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