bluebird bio entered a collaboration with Celgene to discover, develop, and commercialize disease-altering gene therapies in oncology. The collaboration will focus on applying gene therapy technology to genetically modify a patient’s own T-cells, known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, to target and destroy cancer cells.

Bluebird bio will receive an undisclosed up-front payment and up to $225 million per product in potential option fees and clinical and regulatory milestones. bluebird bio also has the right to participate in the development and commercialization of any licensed products resulting from the collaboration through a 50/50 co-development and profit share in the U.S. in exchange for a reduction of milestones. Royalties would also be paid in regions where there is no profit share including in the U.S. if bluebird bio declines to exercise their co-development and profit sharing rights.

Celgene has an option to license any products resulting from the collaboration after the completion of a Phase I study for each such product. bluebird bio will be responsible for R&D activity through Phase I studies.

Additionally, Celgene has also entered into a separate strategic collaboration in the CAR T-cell field with the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital, led by Malcolm Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., professor, department of molecular and human genetics and the director, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy.

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