- Paris-based Cellectis is bringing a new approach to cancer immunotherapy using allogeneic treatments. On Friday, the company filed for a $115 million IPO in the U.S.
- Until now, chimeric antigen receptors (CAR)-T has used a non-viral gene transfer system in which the patient's own T cells are removed, modified, and re-injected with the goal of having these modified T-cells (injected with targeting CARs) seek out cancerous cells and kill them.
- Cellectis, which has partnered with Pfizer, has a different approach to CAR-T, which involves allogeneic (HLA-matched) therapies that can be used by a broader group of patients.
The list of companies involved in the active development of CAR-T is growing rapidly and currently includes Novartis, Juno Therapuetics, Intrexon, Ziopharm, Cellectis, Pfizer, and others. So far, the focus has been on using a patient's own modified cells for immunotherapeutic purposes. Cellectis is differentiating itself by using an allogeneic approach.
Early preclinical data was compelling enough to get Pfizer involved with a start-up investment of $80 million. Pfizer will offer not only R&D support, but also up to $2.8 billion in milestone payments as the companies move forward to develop numerous cancer therapies.
Currently, Cellectis is spending roughly $26 million per year on research, and while it has support from Pfizer, a cash infusion from an IPO will provide more resources to support development.