Celgene snaps up $50 million option for select Juno CAR-T programs
- Celgene will pay Juno Therapeutics $50 million for rights to commercialize Juno's CD19-based CAR-T program outside of North America and China. Both companies will share global development costs of the promising cancer therapies.
- Three CD19 candidates are currently in clinical development, with one in a phase 2 trial for refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Thew two others are in phase 1 studies across four other indications.
- Juno is also studying one of the three candidates in combination with AstraZeneca's PD-L1 inhibitor durvalumab.
The $50 million option deepens an existing partnership between Celgene and Juno. Last summer, the two companies struck a $1 billion collaboration deal for the development of CAR-T and T-Cell receptor technologies.
With Celgene exercising its development option, Juno will retain rights to its CD19 candidates in North America and China.
"The long-term collaboration with Celgene is an important component of our plan to develop our engineered T cell platform rapidly and effectively for the benefit of patients around the world, and we are encouraged by the progress we are making together," Juno CEO Hans Bishop said.
The three CD19 candidates currently in clinical development are JCAR015, JCAR017, and JCAR014. JCAR015 is the most advanced, with a phase 2 trial in ALL ongoing. The other two are in phase 1 trials for pediatric refractory ALL, refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Celgene has been aggressive about shoring up its investment in Juno, giving Juno a strong partner as it competes with Kite Pharma and Bluebird Bio. As for Celgene, the partnership opens up a pathway into the promising CAR-T space.