Table 1. Selected deals and partnerships in the adoptive T cell immunotherapeutic space from 2008 onward. The August 2012 deal between Novartis AG and the University of Pennsylvania set off a wave of partnering activity in the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based T cell therapeutic space, but collaborations between gene therapy company Adaptimmune Ltd. and East Coast universities and between accelerator Celdara Medical LLC and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College had already been flying under the radar for a couple of years. The University of Pennsylvania granted Novartis exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize CAR immunotherapies for cancer. Additionally, Novartis will provide $20 million to establish the Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies on the university's campus to co-develop CAR-based therapies to treat cancer. In October 2012, Kite Pharma Inc. was granted exclusive access to the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) current and future engineered peripheral blood autologous T cell therapeutics to treat hematological and solid cancers. Kite has the option to an exclusive license for NCI proprietary products being developed under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. The company will also provide funding to the NCI. In December 2012, Cellectis S.A. signed a broad collaboration agreement with University College London to develop CAR-expressing allogeneic T cells using Cellectis' proprietary genome engineering technologies to manufacture the T cells. In March 2013, bluebird bio Inc. partnered with Celgene Corp. to discover, develop and commercialize CAR immunotherapies for cancer. The partners will also work with the Baylor College of Medicine to develop new and existing CAR immunotherapy products and programs. bluebird bio and Celgene declined to disclose details. bluebird received an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible for up to $225 million in option fees and milestones per product, plus royalties. bluebird bio will be responsible for R&D through Phase I testing, after which Celgene has the option to license any products. Source: BCIQ: BioCentury Online Intelligence; BioCentury Archives; http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/

Company

Academic leaders

Receptor type

Tumor-associated antigens

Date

Clinical trials

Adaptimmune

University of Pennsylvania; University of Maryland, Baltimore; Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Washington University in St. Louis; Yale School of Medicine; City of Hope; The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; NCI; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)

T cell receptors (TCRs)

Cancer/testis antigen 1B (CTAG1B; NY-ESO-1) and CTAG2 (LAGE1; NY-ESO-2)

2008

Started

Celdara Medical

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

CARs

Killer cell lectin-like receptor subfamily K member 1 (KLRK1; CD314; NKG2D)

2010

Expected late 2014

Cell Medica Ltd.

Baylor College of Medicine

TCRs

Not applicableA

2010

Started

Novartis (NYSE:NVS; SIX:NOVN)

University of Pennsylvania

CARs

CD19 and mesothelin

 2012

Started

Kite Pharma

NCI

CAR or TCRs

CD19, VEGF receptor 2 (KDR/Flk-1; VEGFR-2), mesothelin, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), NY-ESO-1 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)

 2012

Started

Cellectis (Euronext:ALCLS)

University College London

CARs

CD19

2012

Expected late 2014

Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG); bluebird bio (NASDAQ:BLUE)

Baylor College of Medicine

CARs

GD2, HER2 (EGFR2; ErbB2; neu) and CD19

2013

Started

Not applicable

MSKCCB

CARs

CD19 and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA; FOLH1; GCPII)

Not applicable

Started

AThe TCRs do not target a tumor-associated antigen but instead antigens specific for viruses that are expressed by malignant cells in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. BMSKCC has been able to conduct its own Phase I clinical trials at their Memorial Hospital using T cell therapeutics it generated at its own Cell Therapy and Cell Engineering Facility, but researchers believe they will need to partner in order to move trials to Phase II and beyond.