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AstraZeneca enters agreement with Cellectis

Marc Dunoyer

AstraZeneca has announced a collaboration and investment agreement with the French clinical-stage biotechnology company Cellectis to accelerate the development of next generation therapeutics in areas of high unmet need, including oncology, immunology and rare diseases.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, AstraZeneca will leverage the Cellectis gene editing technologies and manufacturing capabilities, to design novel cell and gene therapy products, strengthening AstraZeneca’s growing offering in this space. As part of the agreement, 25 genetic targets have been exclusively reserved for AstraZeneca, from which up to 10 candidate products could be explored for development.

The differentiated capabilities Cellectis has in gene editing and manufacturing complement our in-house expertise and investments made in the past year.”

“The differentiated capabilities Cellectis has in gene editing and manufacturing complement our in-house expertise and investments made in the past year. AstraZeneca continues to advance our ambition in cell therapy for oncology and autoimmune diseases as well as in genomic medicine, which has potential to be transformative for patients with rare diseases,” says Marc Dunoyer, Chief Strategy Officer, AstraZeneca, and Chief Executive Officer, Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease.

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Initial payment of USD 105 million

In Q4 2023, Cellectis will receive an initial payment of USD 105 million from AstraZeneca, which comprises a USD 25 million upfront cash payment under the terms of a research collaboration agreement and an USD 80 million equity investment.

The initial equity investment of USD 80 million, at USD 5/share, represents an equity stake of c. 22% in Cellectis. A further USD 140 million equity investment, at USD 5/share, is expected to close in early 2024 subject to the signing of a final binding agreement following completion of a consultation with the Cellectis employee representative bodies and customary closing conditions including Cellectis shareholders’ approval and regulatory clearances. Post-closing of this second investment, AstraZeneca will hold a total equity stake of c. 44% in Cellectis. AstraZeneca expects to treat its investment in Cellectis as an associate.

AstraZeneca expects to treat its investment in Cellectis as an associate.”

Under the terms of the research collaboration, Cellectis is also eligible to receive an investigational new drug (IND) option fee and development, regulatory and sales-related milestone payments, ranging from USD 70 million up to USD 220 million, per each of the 10 candidate products, plus tiered royalties.

AstraZeneca retains an option for a worldwide exclusive license for the candidate products developed under the research collaboration agreement, to be exercised before IND filing.

Photo of Marc Dunoyer: AstraZeneca

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