Bayer, Atara collaborate on CAR T-cell therapies

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

December 7, 2020 -- Bayer and Atara Biotherapeutics have entered into an agreement to research, develop, manufacture, and license mesothelin-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies to treat solid tumors.

The exclusive worldwide license agreement and research, development, and manufacturing collaboration includes developing two candidates: (1) ATA3271, an armored allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy; and (2) ATA2271, an autologous version for high mesothelin-expressing tumors.

The partnership leverages Bayer's expertise in global oncology development and commercialization and Atara's allogeneic T-cell platform that targets mesothelin, which plays a crucial role in malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer. The collaboration is crucial to Bayer's new cell and gene therapy unit, according to Wolfram Carius, head of Bayer's Cell & Gene Therapy unit.

Atara will receive an upfront payment of $60 million under the terms of the agreement. The company is also eligible to receive up to $610 million in certain milestone payments from Bayer as well as tiered royalties of net sales.

In addition, Atara will provide translational and clinical manufacturing services that Bayer will reimburse. Bayer also has a nonexclusive right to negotiate a license for additional CAR T candidates from Atara.

As part of the deal, Atara will lead investigational new drug (IND) studies for ATA3271, while Bayer will submit the IND as well as lead subsequent clinical development and commercialization. In addition, Atara will continue to oversee an ongoing phase I study of ATA2271.

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