29 June 2017 – Servier and Transgene (Euronext Paris: TNG), a biotechnology company that designs and develops immunotherapies based on viral vectors, announced today the signature of a research agreement on the application of viral vectorization technology for the production of allogenic CAR-T cell therapies. The aim is to obtain more efficient products for patients.
“Allogenic cell therapies using CAR-T open a major field of innovation in the treatment of cancer,” stated Patrick Therasse, Oncology Research and Development Director at Servier. “However, each of the steps in their complex manufacturing process requires specific development and optimization efforts, in order to provide patients with the best possible therapeutic options. And we look for the best partners to move these products forward. “.
The aim of the collaboration between the scientific teams at both Servier and Transgene is to evaluate and select innovative vectorization methods based on Transgene’s viral vector collection, which may be applied to the engineering of CAR-T cell therapies. In addition to the development of simpler, faster and more effective methods, the aim is also to obtain a tighter control of the modified genome areas. Servier and Transgene thus aim to achieve an original allogenic CAR-T preparation method with better transgene integration yields and fewer steps.
Servier has been engaged in the development of cell therapies since November 2015 (see About UCART19).
Transgene has a large collection of viral vectors and is renowned for its competence in the genome engineering of these vectors. These assets will be used to develop new vectorization tools that will allow us to increase the possibility of fine and precise modification of the genome of CART cells, in order to adapt these cells’ properties to the tumor environment and improve the therapeutic efficacy.
Eric Quéméneur, Scientific Director of Transgene, explains: “We are proud of the recognition of our vectorization know-how and of our capacity for innovation by a pharmaceutical company of importance such as Servier. We will enthusiastically contribute to the development of CAR-T, these new promising products in cancer immunotherapy. Thanks to this collaboration, Transgene broadens the domain of the application of viral vectors from its technological platform. “.
“Cellectis is pleased about Servier and Transgene’s collaboration on allogenic CAR-T cell therapies, stated André Choulika, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cellectis. “Transgene stands among the most advanced companies in the world in the development of vector technologies. We are convinced that this collaboration on these cell therapies will lead to ways to optimize production, costs, and potentially explore their use in other leukemia indications”.
Transgene may receive more than 30 million Euro for this contract, with an initial duration of three years. As for Servier, it will be able to use these new vectors to develop its cell immunotherapy portfolio.
Servier is an international pharmaceutical company governed by a non-profit foundation, with its headquarters in France (Suresnes). With a strong international presence in 148 countries and a turnover of 4 billion euros in 2016, Servier employs 21,000 people worldwide. Entirely independent, the Group reinvests 25% of its turnover (excluding generic drugs) in research and development and uses all its profits for development. Corporate growth is driven by Servier’s constant search for innovation in five areas of excellence: cardiovascular, immune-inflammatory and neuropsychiatric disease, oncology and diabetes, as well as by its activities in high-quality generic drugs.
Becoming a key player in oncology is part of Servier’s long-term strategy. Currently, there are nine molecular entities in clinical development in this area, targeting gastric and lung cancers and other solid tumors, as well as different types of leukemia and lymphomas. This portfolio of innovative cancer treatments is being developed with partners worldwide, and covers different cancer hallmarks and modalities, including cytotoxics, proapoptotics, immune, cellular and targeted therapies, to deliver life-changing medicines to patients.
More information: www.servier.com
Transgene (Euronext: TNG), part of Institut Mérieux, is a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing immune-targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. These products use viral vectors to destroy, directly or indirectly, infected or cancer cells. Transgene has two main products in clinical development: TG4010, a therapeutic vaccine against non-small cell lung cancer and Pexa-Vec, an oncolytic virus against liver cancer. The Company also has several other pre-clinical and clinical research and development programmes based on its viral vector technology, including TG4001. Transgene is based in Strasbourg and has operational activities in Lyons and a joint-venture in China. For further information on www.transgene.fr.
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In November 2015, Servier acquired the exclusive rights to UCART19 from Cellectis. Following further agreements, Servier and Pfizer began collaborating on a joint clinical development program for this cancer immunotherapy, currently I phase I. Pfizer has exclusive rights from Servier to develop and commercialize UCART19 in the United States, while Servier retains exclusive rights for all other countries.
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