Allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies provider Cellectis has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with French pharmaceutical research firm Servier for the development and commercialisation of new product candidates targeting leukemia and solid tumours.

The deal covers the development and potentially the commercialisation of Cellectis’s lead product candidate, UCART19.

Research, development and commercialisation of five other product candidates targeting solid tumours, will also be covered under the agreement.

As part of the deal, Cellectis will be responsible for the R&D of certain product candidates through the end of Phase I.

Servier may exercise an exclusive worldwide option for a licence on each product candidate developed under the deal, and following the exercising of each option, the company will be responsible for taking over clinical development, registration and commercialisation of each product.

According to Cellectis, engineered allogeneic CD19 T-cells currently stand out as a real therapeutic innovation for the treatment of several types of leukemias and lymphomas.

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"The financial terms of the deal include an upfront payment of $10m and up to $140m for each of the six product candidates potentially developed."

Servier head of the Oncology Innovation Center Jean-Pierre Abastado said: "These original cell-based therapies will well complement Servier’s innovative clinical oncology pipeline, which currently includes immunotherapeutic monoclonal antibodies, an HDAC inhibitor, kinase inhibitors, antiangiogenic and proapoptotic small molecules."

The financial terms of the deal include an upfront payment of $10m and up to $140m for each of the six product candidates potentially developed, spread over various milestones in the development and commercialisation phases.

In addition, Cellectis is eligible to receive royalties on the sales of commercialised products.

Cellectis senior vice-president Mathieu Simon said: "This partnership will provide Cellectis with substantial revenues to reach our goals in the biopharmaceutical field."

Cellectis adoptive cancer immunotherapy for chronic and acute leukemias is based on the first allogeneic T-cell chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology, designed to target surface antigens expressed on cells.

Image: Collaboration in allogeneic cell therapy. Photo: courtesy of