Servier collaborates with Cellectis on cancer

Servier has entered into an oncology research partnership with French biopharma Cellectis to target leukaemia and five solid tumours 

This deal, the second partnership with the French company in the space of a month, involves the development and commercialisation of Cellectis’ lead product candidate UCART19 for the blood cancer leukaemia. It will also cover five investigational treatments targeting solid tumours.

The latest collaboration with Cellectis builds on an existing relationship, developing a cell engineering collaboration.

The new deal follows the agreement made at the end of January between Servier and the French research centre Curie-Cancer, which focuses on the development of treatments for triple negative breast cancer.

UCART19 – an artificial T-cell – has demonstrated potential in early-stage testing by eradicating leukaemia cells in mice. As part of the deal, Servier will pay Cellectis an upfront fee in addition to a further $140m in milestones for each of the six product candidates in development.

Cellectis will be responsible for the R&D of the product candidates through to the end of phase I. Servier may then exercise an exclusive worldwide option for a license on the treatment and will then take on full development responsibility of the product.

Commenting on the collaboration’s fit into its existing oncology activities, Servier’s head of oncology, Dr Jean Pierre Abastado, said: “These original cell-based therapies will well complement Servier’s innovative clinical oncology pipeline, which currently includes immunotherapeutic monoclonal antibodies, an HDAC inhibitor, kinase inhibitors, antiangiogenic and proapoptotic small molecules.”