AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences, a Berkeley, CA-based clinical-stage CRISPR genome editing biotechnology company, have entered into a collaboration and license agreement for the research and development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapeutics.
Although allogeneic, “off-the-shelf” CAR-T cell therapies have shown early promise in some cancer patients, the need for overcoming the rejection of allogeneic CAR-T cells by the host immune system remains a key challenge to their broader development.
Employing Caribou’s CRISPR genome editing platform to engineer CAR-T cells to withstand host immune attack would enable the development of the next-generation of “off-the-shelf” cellular therapies to benefit a broader patient population.
Under the multi-year agreement, AbbVie will utilise Caribou’s next-generation Cas12a CRISPR hybrid RNA-DNA (chRDNA) genome editing and cell therapy technologies to research and develop two new CAR-T cell therapies directed to targets specified by AbbVie.
AbbVie will have exclusive rights to Caribou’s next-generation Cas12a chRDNA genome editing and cell therapy technologies for the selected targets.
Caribou will conduct certain pre-clinical research, development, and manufacturing activities for the collaboration programs, and AbbVie will reimburse Caribou for all such activities pursuant to the collaboration.
AbbVie is responsible for all clinical development, commercialization, and manufacturing efforts. AbbVie has the option to pay a fee to expand the collaboration to include up to an additional two CAR-T cell therapies.
Caribou will receive $40 million in an upfront cash payment and equity investment, along with up to $300 million in future development, regulatory, and launch milestones.
Caribou may also receive additional payments for commercial milestones as well as global tiered royalties.