April 3, 2018 / 12:04 PM / 6 months ago

Pfizer signs deal with Allogene to develop cancer cell therapy

April 3 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it signed an agreement with Allogene Therapeutics, a company formed by a consortium in which the drugmaker will hold a 25 percent stake, to further develop its allogenic CAR T cell therapy.

The agreement will accelerate the development of Pfizer's chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapy, an investigational immune cell therapy for treating cancer, the company said in a statement.

The CAR T cell therapy is a new class of treatment where disease-fighting T cells are removed from a patient and genetically modified to better recognize and attack cancer. They are then re-infused into the same patient where they can circulate for years to seek out and fight the disease.

Allogene will receive from Pfizer rights to 16 pre-clinical CAR T assets which are licensed from French cell therapy specialist Cellectis SA and French drugmaker Servier.

Pfizer has an 8 percent stake in Cellectis from a 2014 agreement.

Allogene will also get rights to one clinical asset from Servier, which is called UCART19, an "off-the-shelf" cell therapy currently in early-stage study.

Pfizer will get a representation on Allogene's board, but financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

San Francisco-based Allogene specializes in cancer treatment by developing CAR T cell therapy for blood cancer and tumors.

Servier and Allogene aim to start mid-stage studies in 2019 with Allogene having the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize UCART19 in the United States. Servier will have the exclusive rights for all other countries, Pfizer said.

Allogene is a Two River portfolio company, which was formed with $300 million from an investment consortium that includes TPG Capital, Vida Ventures, BellCo Capital, the University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer and Pfizer. (Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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