Pfizer has announced a global strategic collaboration with France-based Cellectis for development of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) immunotherapies in the field of oncology directed at select targets.

Cellectis claims that its CAR-T technology provides an allogeneic approach to developing CAR-T therapies that is distinct from other autologous approaches.

Under the terms, Pfizer will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialise CAR-T therapies in the field of oncology, directed at a total of 15 targets selected by the company.

Pfizer and Cellectis will work together on preclinical research, with Pfizer responsible for development and potential commercialisation of any CAR-T therapies for company-selected targets.

"Pfizer will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialise CAR-T therapies in the field of oncology."

In addition, the agreement provides for a total of 12 targets selected by Cellectis. Both companies will work together on preclinical research on four Cellectis-selected targets, while Cellectis will work independently on eight additional targets.

Cellectis will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation of CAR-T therapeutics for company-selected targets.

Under the deal, Pfizer will pay an upfront payment of $80m to Cellectis, as well as funding for research and development costs associated with Pfizer-selected targets and the four Cellectis-selected targets within the collaboration.

Cellectis will also be eligible to get development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $185m per Pfizer product, plus tiered royalties on any eventual sales.

In addition, Pfizer will also buy a stake of 10% in Cellectis through newly issued shares at €9.25 per share, pending Cellectis shareholder approval. Pfizer has the option to terminate the collaboration agreement if the sale of equity is not approved by the Cellectis shareholders.

Pfizer R&D president Dr Mikael Dolsten said: "Combining the innovation and scientific expertise of Cellectis with Pfizer’s deep oncology and immunology experience creates a world-class partnership designed to deliver a new generation of CAR-T immunotherapies for cancer patients with urgent medical needs."