AbbVie has entered a strategic partnership with Umoja Biopharma for the development of new in-situ chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy candidates for oncology targets.

These therapies will be developed using Umoja’s VivoVec platform.

The partnership comprises two exclusive option and licence agreements.

Under the initial deal, AbbVie will obtain the sole licensing option for CD19-directed in-situ generated CAR-T cell therapy candidates, including Umoja’s UB-VV111.

UB-VV111 is a lead clinical programme of the company in the investigational new drug application-enabling phase to treat haematologic malignancies.

The second agreement allows the companies to develop up to four further in-situ generated CAR-T cell therapies for discovery targets chosen by AbbVie.

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By GlobalData

Umoja received upfront payments, as well as an equity investment from AbbVie.

Together, the agreements could yield up to a total of $1.44bn for Umoja in option exercise, development and regulatory milestone payments.

Additionally, Umoja could receive sales-based milestone and royalty payments on global net product sales from AbbVie.

AbbVie discovery research vice-president and global head Jonathon Sedgwick said: “As we continue to strengthen our oncology portfolio, we believe that in-situ CAR-T cell therapy represents a paradigm shift utilising genetic medicine concepts.

“We look forward to working with Umoja’s team to advance next-generation in-situ CAR-T therapies, and potentially expand the patient populations and indications benefitting from conventional CAR-T approaches.”

The VivoVec gene delivery platform is a new approach that merges third-generation lentiviral vector gene delivery with a new T-cell targeting and activation surface complex.

This aids T cells within the body to produce their own CAR-T cells in vivo, potentially overcoming several challenges of standard CAR-T therapies.

Umoja Biopharma co-founder and CEO Andrew Scharenberg said: “By bringing together AbbVie’s like-minded pursuit of addressing patient unmet needs with our investments in vector biology and fully-owned commercial-scale manufacturing, we look forward to progressing multiple VivoVec drug candidates into the clinic in the coming years.”

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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