This week: Pfizer and GSK hand off CAR-T and gene therapy programs, Novartis acquires gene therapy developer
The news highlights:
GSK transfers rare disease portfolio to Orchard Therapeutics, receives equity stake
Novartis to acquire gene therapy company AveXis for US$8.7billion
Allogene Therapeutics acquires rights to Pfizer allogeneic CAR-T therapies
GSK and Orchard Therapeutics (both London, UK) have announced a strategic agreement that will see GSK transfer its portfolio of approved and investigational rare disease gene therapy to Orchard, receiving a 19.9% equity stake and a seat on the company’s board. The agreement secures continued development of the program, which includes Strimvelis and a number of clinical and preclinical programs, strengthening Orchard’s position as a leader in rare disease gene therapies.
John Lepore, Senior Vice President, R&D pipeline, GSK, said: “GSK is proud of the advances we have achieved in collaboration with the cell and gene therapy pioneers at Ospedale San Raffaele, Fondazione Telethon and MolMed in Milan. Since we announced our intent to review these medicines, our goal has been to identify the right owner who can build on what we’ve already achieved, and can advance these important medicines for patients, allowing GSK to focus on building its broader cell and gene therapy platform capabilities.”
Mark Rothera, CEO, Orchard, said: “Acquiring this portfolio further advances Orchard’s vision to be a global, fully integrated company leading the field of gene therapy for rare diseases. The acquisition immediately expands our primary immune deficiency and inherited metabolic disorder franchises and adds the potential for other franchises in the future. At Orchard, we are committed to transforming the lives of patients with rare diseases through innovative gene therapies.”
Novartis (UK) has entered into an agreement to acquire gene therapy developer AveXis (IL, USA) for US$218 per share, a total of US$8.7 billion. The acquisition will see Novartis continue development of AVXS-101, a developmental gene therapy that has received Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of all types of spinal muscular atrophy and Breakthrough Therapy Designation for SMA-1.
“The commitment, drive and expertise of the entire AveXis team has created significant stockholder value, and we are pleased that Novartis recognizes that value in the potential of AVXS-101, our first in class manufacturing capabilities and our gene therapy pipeline, all of which serve to transform the lives of people devastated by rare and life threatening neurological diseases such as SMA, Rett syndrome and genetic ALS,” said Sean Nolan, President and Chief Executive Officer of AveXis.
Under a definitive asset contribution agreement, Allogene Therapeutics (CA, USA) has received the rights to 16 preclinical CAR-T assets, licensed from Cellectis and Servier (both France), and one clinical asset, licensed from Servier. Pfizer will continue to support the development of this portfolio through a 25% stake in Allogene.
“The completion of our agreement with Pfizer represents a bold undertaking by leaders in the field to expedite the development of the next wave of cancer immunotherapies,” said David Chang, President and Chief Executive Officer, Allogene.
For more weekly cell therapy news, read previous editions of the cell therapy weekly.