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  • hdwrsft hdwrsft Jun 18, 2014 2:07 PM Flag

    Pfizer signs deal w/Cellectis for Immunotherapy Drugs - $80MM UPFRONT

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    (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, which failed last month in a $118 billion bid to buy AstraZeneca, said on Wednesday it had signed a deal with French biotech Cellectis to develop immunotherapy drugs in cancer.

    The news sent shares in Cellectis surging 50 percent higher, valuing the company, which was founded in 1999, at around 195 million euros ($264 million).

    Boosting the body's immune system to fight tumours is a hot area for drug research and was one of the factors that attracted Pfizer to Britain's AstraZeneca - along with the potential to cut costs and taxes.

    The technology used by Cellectis involves reprogramming immune system cells to hunt out cancer and represents a different approach to that used by drugs under development at AstraZeneca.

    The French company's research is still at an early stage but it hopes to start clinical trials in 2015, initially with a drug for leukaemia that it has already partnered with unlisted pharmaceuticals group Servier.

    Under the new deal, Cellectis will receive an upfront payment from Pfizer of $80 million, as well as funding for research costs.

    The French biotech firm will also be eligible to get development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $185 million per Pfizer product, plus tiered royalties on any eventual sales.

    Pfizer has exclusive rights to develop products against 15 biological targets for fighting cancer it selects, while another 12 targets can be selected by Cellectis.

    "French biotech Cellectis surges as Pfizer signs cancer drug deal"

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