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AZ Might Consider CAR-T Firm

After AstraZeneca told Bloomberg it might be interested in a cancer therapy company, Juno Therapeutics’ stocks jumped by more than 15.3 percent this week, according to 

AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot made the comments after he was asked whether his firm would be interested in a company like Juno, which develops ways the body can use its own immune system to fight disease, notes. 

“If at some point we conclude we need to make an acquisition, we certainly would consider it, there’s no question about it,” Soriot told the news service. As of now, no deal is imminent, he stressed. 

“At this stage, we have a lot on our hands,” Soriot continued. “We have a full portfolio of immunooncology assets; our strategy has been, with CAR-T, to partner.” 

CAR-T is an acronym for chimeric antigen receptor therapy, which rewires a patient’s own immune system T-cells to kill cancer cells. But that type of immunotherapy sometimes backfires, in some cases even killing patients, the article said. 

AstraZeneca already is partnered with Juno on a project that combines its own immune therapy drug to Juno’s CAR-T technology. Any potential side effects would have to be eliminated before any acquisitions could be considered, Soriot told Bloomberg. 

“The CAR-T technology has a lot of promises; we also need to find a way to manage the side effects,” he said. “They can be hard to predict and they can be quite substantial.”