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Adaptimmune and GSK expand strategic imunotherapy collaboration
02-26-2016
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author
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LONDON, PHILADELPHIA and OXFORD, United Kingdom—Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, a leader in the use of T cell receptor (TCR) engineered T cell therapy to treat cancer, and GlaxoSmithKline plc have expanded the terms of their strategic collaboration agreement to accelerate Adaptimmune’s lead clinical cancer program, an affinity enhanced T cell immunotherapy (GSK3377794) targeting NY-ESO-1, toward pivotal trials in synovial sarcoma.
Adaptimmune and GSK announced a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement in June 2014 for up to five programs, including the lead NY-ESO TCR program. GSK has an option on the NY-ESO-1 program through clinical proof of concept and, on exercise, will assume full responsibility for the program.
 
“We are delighted to broaden our collaboration with GSK, which is also fully committed to the development of this revolutionary T cell therapy,” commented James Noble, Adaptimmune’s CEO. “We believe that our affinity enhanced T cell programs have the potential to deliver important clinical benefit to cancer patients, and it is therefore essential that we accelerate our efforts to meet their needs. We are working closely with GSK to expedite development of our affinity enhanced T cell therapy targeting NY-ESO, and if we succeed in generating pivotal data consistent with that of our ongoing studies, we believe it has the potential to be the first engineered T cell therapy to reach the market.”
 
Dr. Axel Hoos, SVP Oncology R&D GSK said, “At GSK we’re progressing a pipeline of immuno-oncology therapies to stimulate anti-tumor immunity in patients. As we highlighted to investors at our R&D event last year, this Adaptimmune collaboration is a key element of that pipeline and is part of a comprehensive program for cell and gene therapy. With this expanded collaboration, we have the opportunity to accelerate the lead program in synovial sarcoma toward pivotal trials and also to investigate several other tumor types and combine the T cell therapy with immune-modulating therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors.” 
Under the terms of the expanded agreement, the companies will accelerate the development of Adaptimmune’s NY-ESO therapy into pivotal studies in synovial sarcoma and will explore development in myxoid round cell liposarcoma. Additionally, the companies may initiate up to eight proof-of-principle studies exploring combinations with other therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors.
 
According to the expanded development plan, the studies will be conducted by Adaptimmune with GSK effectively funding the pivotal studies and sharing the costs of the combination studies via a success-based milestone structure. 
Previous guidance relating to the collaboration disclosed potential cash payments to Adaptimmune of approximately $350M over the first 7 years from 2014 in relation to NY-ESO and two further programs. Given the changes announced today, and the advances made across the collaboration, Adaptimmune is updating and expanding this disclosure. Under the terms of the expanded agreement, the potential development milestones Adaptimmune is eligible to receive solely in relation to the NY-ESO program could amount to approximately $500 million, excluding previously received payments, if GSK exercises its option and successfully develops NY-ESO in more than one indication and more than one Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) type. In addition, Adaptimmune would receive tiered sales milestones and, as previously disclosed, mid-single to low-double digit royalties on worldwide net sales. GSK has the right to nominate up to four additional targets in due course and Adaptimmune is eligible to receive further significant undisclosed milestone payments in relation to these earlier stage target programs.
 
Adaptimmune has also reiterated its prior cash burn guidance, which remains unchanged as the majority of the expansion and acceleration costs will be funded by GSK. For the full year 2016, the company expects its cash burn to be between $80 and $100 million, excluding cash burn associated with business development activities, and expects its cash position at December 31, 2016, including cash, cash equivalents, and short term deposits, to be at least $150 million.
 
Adaptimmune’s affinity enhanced T cell candidates are novel cancer immunotherapies that have been engineered to target and destroy cancer cells by strengthening a patient’s natural T cell response. Using its proprietary technology, Adaptimmune has created a pipeline of affinity enhanced T cell therapies targeting certain antigens, including cancer testis antigens such as NY-ESO. NY-ESO-1 is one of the best-characterized and most immunogenic cancer testis antigens, and is frequently expressed by tumors of different origins and in advanced tumors. The company’s trials in the NY-ESO-1 program in multiple myeloma, melanoma, sarcoma and ovarian cancer continue to generate encouraging results.
 
Adaptimmune is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on novel cancer immunotherapy products based on its T cell receptor (TCR) platform. Established in 2008, the company aims to utilize the body’s own machinery—the T cell—to target and destroy cancer cells by using engineered, increased affinity TCRs as a means of strengthening natural patient T cell responses. Adaptimmune’s lead program is an affinity enhanced T cell therapy targeting the NY-ESO cancer antigen. Its NY-ESO TCR affinity enhanced T cell therapy has demonstrated signs of efficacy and tolerability in Phase 1/2 trials in solid tumors and in hematologic cancer types, including synovial sarcoma and multiple myeloma. In addition, Adaptimmune has a number of proprietary programs. The company has identified over 30 intracellular target peptides preferentially expressed in cancer cells and is currently progressing 12 through unpartnered research programs. Adaptimmune has over 200 employees and is located in Oxfordshire, U.K. and Philadelphia.
 
Code: E02221601

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