GSK and Adaptimmune Expand their R&D Collaboration
Adaptimmune Therapeutics and GlaxoSmithKline have expanded the terms of their strategic collaboration agreement, with the aim 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 back 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 that affects the cells around the joints and tendons. It is an extremely rare cancer, that affect only 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, which is 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 whilst GSK effectively fund 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.”
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, providing 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.