Allogene parks Notch CARs, leaving one on the road

Allogene Therapeutics has dropped the bulk of a cell therapy collaboration with Notch Therapeutics, leaving just one chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) target from the original deal.

Allogene tapped the Canadian biotech to work on cancer treatments made from stem cells rather than mature T cells back in 2019. The companies signed a $10 million upfront deal, with Allogene picking up a 25% stake in Notch, plus $7.25 million in research payments and $4 million per target if it meets certain preclinical milestones.

The worldwide exclusive deal granted Allogene access to Notch’s therapeutic gene-edited T cell and natural killer (NK) cell products from induced pluripotent stem cells that are directed at CAR targets. The initial deal spanned non-Hodgkin lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma, but Allogene had an option to add other targets for a further fee.

Now, Allogene is mostly backing off. The company has relinquished rights to all the original CAR targets except for one, which was not disclosed in a Wednesday regulatory filing. Allogene will also retain the right to one additional CAR target, which will come with a minimum funding commitment if exercised.

If Notch decides to out-license any of the released targets, Allogene will earn a percentage of milestones and royalties on resulting net sales.

Allogene has a 23% stake in Notch following an October 2021 investment and has a member on its board of directors.

The news is a further blow for Notch, which laid off staff and shuttered a cell therapy center that also served as its headquarters in August 2023. The shutdown impacted about 25 people at the Vancouver lab, leaving facilities in Seattle and Toronto.