GSK severs Immatics partnership in T-cell retreat that claimed Lyell last month

GSK is doubling down on a retreat from the land of T-cell receptors (TCRs), terminating a partnership with Immatics that held the potential for up to $600 million in biobucks.

The pact was penned in February 2020, with GSK forking over $50 million cash for access to two of Immatics’ TCR-T programs that would target solid tumors. The Big Pharma also offered up to $550 million in potential milestone payments.

GSK gave the cell therapy company notice of its decision to forgo the collab Oct. 24, stating that the move was unrelated to the programs and progress achieved thus far, according to a Nov. 17 Immatics release. The termination will go into effect Dec. 26.   

Immatics, a German and Texan company that just debuted on the Nasdaq in October, has manufactured TCR tech with three phase 1b clinical trials and several other earlier-stage programs. The biotech still holds several partnerships, including pipeline projects with Big Pharma Bristol Myers Squibb

As of Sept. 30, Immatics had $301.5 million in cash, cash equivalents and other financial assets, with an additional $110 million gross proceeds from its public offering, according to financial results shared Nov. 17. The company expects the money to carry into 2025.

As for GSK—one of the earlier Big Pharmas to enter the TCR space via an Adaptimmune partnership in 2014—it appears the company is now stepping back from the therapeutic area.

Last month, the pharma axed a $1 billion-plus TCR pact with Lyell Immunopharma, transferring the program to Adaptimmune. The move came months after GSK stopped enrollment in a study of its first-generation NY-ESO-1 candidate due to lackluster data.