GentiBio and Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) have signed a multi-year partnership agreement for developing new engineered Treg therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. 

These therapies will be developed for re-instating immune tolerance and repairing tissue in IBD.

The alliance will merge the engineered Treg platform of GentiBio for creating stable, scalable, well-selective and long-lasting Tregs with the cell therapy and immunology expertise of BMS.

According to the agreement, BMS made an undisclosed upfront cash payment to GentiBio. 

GentiBio is also entitled to receive potential payments up to $1.9bn on meeting development and sales milestones apart from royalty payments.

BMS Immunology, Cardiovascular and Fibrosis Thematic Research Center senior vice-president and head Robert Plenge said: “Tregs have demonstrated the potential to suppress inflammation and autoimmune dysfunction in a tissue-restricted manner, thus avoiding widespread, and potentially harmful, immune suppression. 

“We are excited to collaborate with GentiBio as we explore creating potentially promising Tregs for patients suffering from IBD.”

Under the deal, GentiBio will leverage its modular engineered Treg platform as well as scalable production process to manufacture engineered Tregs which are stable and specific to the disease against various targets. 

Furthermore, BMS will hold the right to develop and progress up to three programmes resulting from the partnership into clinical trials.

GentiBio co-founder and CEO Adel Nada said: “Unlike existing therapies, Tregs have the unique potential to re-establish immune tolerance in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as IBD. 

“This strategic collaboration reflects our shared commitment to creating innovative immunotherapies that are designed to be potent, durable, selective and have the potential to significantly shift the standard of care for patients with autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases.”

IBD is a fatal, chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. 

In June this year, BMS and Immatics expanded strategic collaboration for developing multiple allogeneic off-the-shelf T cell receptor-based therapy and/or chimeric antigen receptor T programmes.

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

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