Servier bags expanded rights to Cellectis' CD19 CAR-Ts

Cellectis has revised its deal with Servier, granting its partner additional rights to CD19 CAR-T therapies in return for €25 million ($27.6 million) up front, plus follow-up milestones and control of candidates against five additional targets.

Servier was the first company to take an interest in Cellectis’ off-the-shelf CAR-T therapies, striking a deal for rights to them back in 2014. The details of who has rights to what have changed a few times since then, with first Pfizer and then Allogene Therapeutics getting involved, but Servier has remained a constant.

Servier and Allogene are already trialing UCART19 and ALLO-501 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, respectively. ALLO-501A is a preclinical asset that lacks the rituximab recognition domains present in ALLO-501, potentially making it effective in patients recently treated with the Roche antibody.

Now, Servier has narrowed its focus. The revised deal gives Servier additional rights to Cellectis’ CD19 CAR-T therapies, setting it up to work with its U.S. sublicensee Allogene on UCART19, ALLO-501 and ALLO-501A.

Besides the €25 million up front, Servier put itself on the hook for up to €370 million in additional milestones and an increased royalty rate, which is now a flat, low-double-digit figure.

Finally, the revised deal returns the exclusive rights to five undisclosed CAR-T targets to Cellectis. The 2014 agreement referred to “five other product candidates targeting solid tumors,” details of which are yet to emerge. 

Cellectis disclosed news of the revised Servier deal alongside its fourth-quarter results. The results featured updates about Cellectis’ pipeline, including the news that it plans to amend the protocol of a phase 1 dose escalation trial of CD22 CAR-T UCART22 in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The planned amendment will enable Cellectis “to evaluate the addition of alemtuzumab to the lymphodepletion regimen.”

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that Servier had acquired additional rights from Cellectis.