RARE Daily

Atara Biotherapeutics Enters Strategic Collaboration with Bayer for Mesothelin-Targeted CAR T-Cell Therapies

December 7, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Atara Biotherapeutics entered into a collaboration with Bayer with $60 million upfront and the potential for an additional $610 million in milestones for an exclusive worldwide license agreement and research, development, and manufacturing collaboration for mesothelin-directed CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumors.

Bayer said the deal is a fundamental element of its new cell and gene therapy strategy. It strengthens its development portfolio through allogeneic cell therapies and consolidates its emerging leadership in the field.

Atara is a pioneer in allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy with industry-leading allogeneic cell manufacturing processes and CAR T technologies. The licensed technology leverages Atara’s novel, proprietary Epstein-Barr Virus T-cell platform combined with CAR T technologies targeting mesothelin to improve efficacy, persistence, safety, and durability of response.

The agreement includes the development candidate ATA3271, an armored allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy, and an autologous version, ATA2271, for high mesothelin-expressing tumors, such as the rare neoplasm malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small-cell lung cancer.

“Bayer’s proven track record in oncology global development and commercialization, and growing presence in cell and gene therapy, enhances Atara’s capabilities and complements our leading allogeneic T-cell platform,” said Pascal Touchon, president and CEO Atara.

Under the terms of the agreement, Atara will lead studies to enable an application to begin human clinical trials and process development for ATA3271 while Bayer will be responsible for submitting the application to regulators to being clinical studies and subsequent clinical development and commercialization.

Atara will continue to be responsible for the ongoing ATA2271 phase 1 study, for which an IND filing has been accepted and the clinical trial has been initiated. As part of the transaction, Atara will also provide translational and clinical manufacturing services to be reimbursed by Bayer. In addition, for a limited period of time, Bayer has a non-exclusive right to negotiate a license for additional Atara CAR T product candidates.

Photo: Pascal Touchon, president and CEO Atara Biotherapeutics

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