Atara Biotherpautics Inc. (NASDAQ:ATRA) and Bayer have announced an exclusive license, R&D, and manufacturing collaboration agreement for mesothelin-directed CAR T-Cell therapy in treating solid tumors.
Collaboration to develop ATA2271 and ATA3271
The collaboration agreement includes the development of ATA2271 an autologous version of high mesothelin-expressing tumors such as NSCLC and malignant pleural mesothelioma and ATA3271 which is an armored allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy. The licensed tech leverages the company’s proprietary, novel Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) T-Cell platform in combination with CAR T technologies that target mesothelin to enhance response efficacy, safety, durability, and persistence.
Bayer’s Cell and Gene Therapy Unit Head, Wolfram Carius said that the transaction is a vital element in the company’s new Cell & Gene therapy strategy. He said that the collaboration strengthens Bayer’s development portfolio via allogeneic cell therapies and also consolidates with its merging leadership in the sector. Wolfram added that they are looking forward to the collaboration to create off-the-shelf CAR T-Cell therapies for difficult-to-treat tumors.
Commenting on the collaboration, Atara’s CEO and President Pascal Touchon said that the collaboration will accelerate mesothelin-targeted CAR T-Cell therapies development for the treatment of patients with various solid tumors, He said that it will help the company in advancing its allogeneic cell therapy platform to patients as soon as possible. He added that Bayer has a proven oncology development and commercialization track record which together with its growing cell and gene therapy presence will enhance Atara’s capabilities as well as complement its allogeneic T-cell platform.
Atara to receive $60 million in upfront payments
According to the terms of the collaboration, Atara will lead Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies and development for ATA3281. On the other Bayer will be responsible for the IND submission and ensuing clinical development and commercialization. Also, Atara will take lead in the ongoing ATA2271 phase 1 study for which the FDA has accepted an IND with clinical studies already in progress. Bayer will pay Atara an upfront payment of $60 million and will be eligible for regulatory, certain development and commercialization milestones of $610 million and tiered royalties on double-digit percentage sales.