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GSK and Adaptimmune expand R&D collaboration

Published on 03/02/16 at 10:29am
Adaptimmune lab scientists growing research cells

Adaptimmune Therapeutics and GlaxoSmithKline have expanded the terms of their strategic collaboration agreement, to run clinical trials of Adaptimmune’s potential immunotherapy as a treatment for one of the rarest soft tissue cancers in the world.

The two companies announced a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement in June 2014 for up to five programs, including the lead program, a T-cell immunotherapy drug known as GSK3377794. GSK has an option on the clinical trial program through clinical proof of concept and, on exercise, will assume full responsibility for the program. The trials will study the investigational drug in people with synovial sarcoma.

Synovial sarcoma is a type of soft-tissue sarcoma affecting the cells around the joints and tendons. It is an extremely rare cancer, affecting only about a handful of people in every million each year.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, the companies will also explore trials in myxoid round cell liposarcoma – another rare cancer of the connective tissue. The companies may initiate up to eight proof-of-principle studies exploring combinations with other therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors. The studies will be conducted by Adaptimmune with GSK effectively funding the pivotal studies and sharing the costs of the combination studies via a success based milestone structure.

“We are delighted to broaden our collaboration with GSK, which is also fully committed to the development of this revolutionary T-cell therapy,” comments James Noble, Adaptimmune’s chief executive.

“We believe that our affinity enhanced T-cell programs have the potential to deliver important clinical benefit to cancer patients, and it is therefore essential that we accelerate our efforts to meet their needs. We are working closely with GSK to expedite development, and if we succeed in generating pivotal data consistent with that of our ongoing studies, we believe it has the potential to be the first engineered T-cell therapy to reach the market.”

Dr Axel Hoos, senior vice president of oncology R&D at GSK adds: “At GSK we’re progressing a pipeline of immuno-oncology therapies to stimulate anti-tumour immunity in patients. This Adaptimmune collaboration is a key element of that pipeline and is part of a comprehensive program for cell and gene therapy. With this expanded collaboration, we have the opportunity to accelerate the lead program in synovial sarcoma toward pivotal trials and also to investigate several other tumour types and combine the T-cell therapy with immune-modulating therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors.”

The original deal included potential earnings for Adaptimmune of $350m over the first seven years of the agreement. However under the terms of the expanded agreement, Adaptimmune is eligible to receive up to around $500 million, excluding previously received payments, tiered sales milsetones and royalties, if GSK exercises all of its options and successfully develops the drug. Adaptimmune is also eligible to receive further significant milestone payments in relation to other earlier stage target programs.

Lilian Anekwe

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