The University of Pennsylvania's Phase I proof-of-concept data for its targeted T cell therapy were enough to convince Novartis AG the technology could have advantages over earlier immunotherapies.

Last week, the university granted Novartis exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) immunotherapies for cancer. The deal includes CART-19, which completed the Phase I trial in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).