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Regeneron Pharma and Bluebird bio announce immune cell collaboration

Published on 06/08/18 at 11:58am
Image Credit: NIAID https://www.flickr.com/photos/54591706@N02/16760076824

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have announced that they will collaborate with the Massachusetts-based gene therapy specialist Bluebird bio in an effort to develop and commercialise novel immune cell therapies for cancer.

The collaborators aim to leverage Regeneron’s VelociSuite technologies as they push towards the development of human antibodies and T-cell receptors which will be directed against tumour-specific proteins and peptides. Bluebird bio will contribute its expertise in gene transfer and cell therapy.

While bluebird bio’s technologies use a customised lentiviral vector to modify T-cells so that they can recognize tumor-specific proteins expressed by cancer cells and kill them upon engagement, Regeneron's VelociSuite technologies enable the creation of fully-human antibodies and T cell receptors. As such the complementary technologies may allow professionals to target a broader set of tumours.

Dr George D. Yancopoulos, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron commented: “Like Regeneron, bluebird is a science-focused company looking to push the limits of what novel technologies can do in drug discovery and development. We believe that the tremendous synergies between Regeneron's proven technologies and bluebird's toolbox of advanced cell and gene therapy technologies create a promising opportunity to help people with cancer by developing innovative new treatments. This collaboration adds yet another dimension to our rapidly advancing portfolio of immuno-oncology candidates and combination approaches.”

The collaborators will jointly share the cost of research and development up to the point of submitting an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. Regeneron is also set to make a $100 million investment in Bluebird bio common stock at a price of $238.10 per share, which represents a premium of 59 percent over the $150 closing price on August 3, 2018.

Louis Goss

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