RARE Daily

AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences Enter Collaboration for Off-the-Shelf CAR-T Therapies

February 10, 2021

Rare Daily Staff

AbbVie entered into a collaboration and license agreement with the genome editing company Caribou Biosciences for the research and development of off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapeutics for $40 million in an upfront and equity investment, and up to $300 million in future development, regulatory, and launch milestones.

Caribou is also eligible to receive additional payments for commercial milestones as well as global tiered royalties.

Although allogeneic, “off-the-shelf” CAR-T cell therapies have shown early promise in some cancer patients, the need for overcoming the rejection of allogeneic CAR-T cells by the host immune system remains a key challenge to their broader development. The companies said that using Caribou’s CRISPR genome editing platform to engineer CAR-T cells to withstand host immune attack would enable the development of the next-generation of “off-the-shelf” cellular therapies to benefit a broader patient population.

Under the multi-year agreement, AbbVie will utilize Caribou’s next-generation Cas12a CRISPR hybrid RNA-DNA (chRDNA) genome editing and cell therapy technologies to research and develop two new CAR-T cell therapies directed to targets specified by AbbVie.

AbbVie will have exclusive rights to Caribou’s next-generation Cas12a chRDNA genome editing and cell therapy technologies for the selected targets. Caribou will conduct certain pre-clinical research, development, and manufacturing activities for the collaboration programs, and AbbVie will reimburse Caribou for all such activities pursuant to the collaboration.

AbbVie is responsible for all clinical development, commercialization, and manufacturing efforts. AbbVie has the option to pay a fee to expand the collaboration to include up to an additional two CAR-T cell therapies.

“This collaboration validates Caribou’s differentiated next-generation CRISPR genome editing technologies that provide best-in-class efficiency and specificity,” said Rachel Haurwitz, president and CEO of Caribou. “We believe AbbVie is an ideal partner for Caribou as we expand upon the number of targets and diseases addressable by our technologies. Genome-edited CAR-T cell therapies hold tremendous potential for patients, and this partnership accelerates our ability to address significant unmet medical need.”

Photo: Rachel Haurwitz, president and CEO of Caribou

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