Gilead Company Kite and Sangamo Therapeutics have entered a global collaboration using the latter’s zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology platform to develop new ex-vivo cell therapies in oncology.

As part of the collaboration, Sangamo’s gene-editing technology will be used by Kite to modify genes to develop the therapies for use in treating various types of cancers.

Sangamo Therapeutics president and CEO Sandy Macrae said: “This collaboration between Kite and Sangamo brings together two leading platforms to develop best-in-class cell therapies in oncology.

“We are excited by Kite’s commitment to driving innovation in this field and look forward to working together to realise the full promise of cell therapy in treating cancer.”

By collecting allogeneic cell therapies from healthy donor cells or from renewable stem cells a potential treatment option would be available that can be accessed directly within the oncology infusion centre, thereby reducing the time to infusion for patients.

“This collaboration between Kite and Sangamo brings together two leading platforms to develop best-in-class cell therapies in oncology.”

Under the agreement, Sangamo will receive an upfront payment of $150m.

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Furthermore, the company is eligible for up to $3.01bn in potential payments, aggregated across ten or more products using its technology, based on the achievement of certain research, development, regulatory and commercialisation milestones.

Kite will develop, manufacture and commercialise products under the collaboration, and will be responsible for agreed upon expenses that would be incurred by Sangamo.

Gilead president and CEO John Milligan said: “The emergence of gene editing as a tool to edit immune cells holds promise in the development of therapies with potentially improved safety, efficacy and efficiency.”

The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, as well as other customary closing conditions.