Oxford BioMedica has sealed a major deal with Novartis to supply the Swiss drug giant with lentiviral vectors used to create cell therapy products, including CTL019 and other undisclosed Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell (CART) products.
The agreement builds on the collaboration announced between the group and Novartis in October 2014 and anticipates the commercial launch of CTL019 later this year for the blood cancer B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The deal could see Oxford BioMedica bank in excess of $100 million from Novartis over the next three years, including a $10 million upfront payment, various performance incentives and bioprocessing and development services.
In addition the UK group will also receive undisclosed royalties on potential future sales of Novartis’s CAR-T products.
Initially the supply agreement will run for three years, but this could be extended to five years subject to the wishes of both parties.
The deal, says Oxford BioMedica’s chief executive John Dawson, “demonstrates the value of our LentiVector platform and the quality of work we have delivered to Novartis over the last few years.
“The new deal with Novartis will strengthen the Group’s balance sheet immediately and will support the Group’s continued growth over the next three years.”
CAR-T offers a new treatment approach in that it is specifically manufactured for each individual patient. During the process, T cells are drawn from a patient's blood and reprogrammed in the laboratory to create T cells that are genetically coded to hunt the patient's cancer cells and other B-cells expressing a particular antigen.
Novartis picked up rights to CTL019 under an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, which also gives it worldwide rights to CARTs developed in all cancer indications.