Cytovia, Cellectis partner on gene-edited NK cells

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

February 16, 2021 -- Cytovia Therapeutics and Cellectis have entered into a strategic research and development collaboration to develop gene-edited natural killer (NK) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) NK cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.

Cellectis will develop custom transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) gene editing platforms, which Cytovia will use to edit iPSCs. Cytovia will be responsible for the differentiation and expansion of the gene-edited iPSC master cell bank into NK cells and will conduct the preclinical evaluation, clinical development, and commercialization of the mutually agreed upon selected therapeutic candidates.

Additionally, Cellectis is granting Cytovia a worldwide license to its TALEN gene editing technology, allowing Cytovia to modify NK cells addressing multiple gene targets for therapeutic use in several cancer indications. TALEN products are designed by fusing DNA nuclease to transcription activator-like effectors (TALE) domains.

Under the partnership, Cytovia will provide Cellectic with up to $760 million in development, regulatory, and sales milestone payments for the first five TALEN products. Cellectis will also receive royalty payments on the net sales of all partnered products commercialized by Cytovia. Cellectis will receive an equity stake of $15 million in Cytovia stock or an upfront cash payment of $15 million if certain conditions are not met by December 31, 2021, as well as an option to invest in future financing rounds.

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