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Servier signs cancer collaboration with Cellectis

Will target leukaemia and five solid tumours

Servier has entered its second oncology research partnership in the space of a month following its agreement with French biopharma Cellectis.

This deal involves the development and commercialisation of Cellectis' lead product candidate UCART19 for the blood cancer leukaemia as well as five investigational treatments targeting solid tumours.

It follows the agreement made at the end of January between Servier and the French research centre Curie-Cancer, which is focused on the development of treatments for triple negative breast cancer.

As with the Curie-Centre partnership, the latest deal with Cellectis expands on an existing relationship, with Servier and Cellectis already involved in a cell engineering collaboration.

The new agreement ups the ante, however, as UCART19 – an artificial T-cell - has demonstrated potential in early-stage testing by eradicating leukaemia cells in mice.

Servier will pay Cellectis an upfront fee as part of the deal, in addition to a further $140m in milestones for each of the six product candidates in development.

Cellectis will be responsible for the R&D of the product candidates through to the end of phase I, at which time Servier may exercise an exclusive worldwide option for a license on the treatment. Servier will then take on full development responsibility of the product.

Servier's head of oncology Dr Jean Pierre Abastado, commented on the collaboration's fit into its existing oncology activities.

He 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.”

Article by
Thomas Meek

18th February 2014

From: Research

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