Precision Biosciences and TG Therapeutics have concluded a licensing agreement for the development of the cell therapy azer-cel to treat autoimmune diseases and other non-cancer indications.

The deal includes an upfront payment and potential near-term payments totalling $17.5m in exchange for azer-cel’s global rights.

A $7.5m upfront payment by TG Therapeutics to Precision will comprise both cash and share purchase of the latter’s common stock.

Precision will receive a $2.5m equity investment during 2024.

Achievement of near-term clinical milestones will trigger payment of a further $7.5m for Precision in cash and stock purchases by TG Therapeutics.

Precision will earn $288m in subsequent milestone payments, contingent on clinical, regulatory and commercial goals.

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The agreement also entitles Precision to royalties on net product sales.

These financial provisions and available credit are anticipated to extend the cash runway of Precision into the first half of 2026, covering Phase I clinical data readouts for its hepatitis B virus and primary mitochondrial myopathy programmes.

Precision BioSciences president and CEO Michael Amoroso said: “We are excited to extend the utility of our allogeneic CAR T assets into immunology by collaborating with TG Therapeutics as they advance novel treatments for B-cell diseases.

“Key factors in our decision to partner with the TG team include their recent development, regulatory and commercial successes in the multiple sclerosis space, which we believe are strong indicators of the commitment and expertise they will bring to the development of azer-cel in autoimmune diseases.

“As TG Therapeutics assumes the development of azer-cel for immunology, Precision will remain focused on capitalising on the utility of ARCUS for gene elimination and gene insertion, beginning with our wholly owned PBGENE-HBV programme for chronic hepatitis B and PBGENE-PMM for primary mitochondrial myopathy.”

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

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