Seattle Genetics and Unum Therapeutics said today they will team up to develop and commercialize new antibody-coupled T-cell receptor (ACTR) therapies for cancer. The deal could generate as much as $645 million for Unum.

The companies said their cancer immunotherapy collaboration will combine Seattle Genetics’ portfolio of cancer targets and tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies with Unum’s ACTR technology. That technology is designed to enable programming of a patient’s T-cells to attack tumor cells when co-administered with tumor-specific therapeutic antibodies.

Seattle Genetics’ portfolio will be the source of development programs to be selected for the collaboration, the companies said.

The companies will initially develop two ACTR products incorporating Seattle Genetics’ antibodies. Seattle Genetics has an option to expand the collaboration to include a third ACTR product, while Unum will conduct preclinical research and clinical development activities through Phase I, with funding from Seattle Genetics.

Seattle Genetics has agreed to pay Unum $25 million upfront, as well as up to $615 million if all three ACTR programs are developed, tied to a potential option fee and milestones. Seattle Genetics also agreed to make a $5 million equity investment in Unum’s next round of private financing.

The companies have agreed to work together to co-develop and jointly fund programs after Phase I unless either company opts out of the collaboration.

Seattle Genetics and Unum also agreed to co-commercialize and share profits 50/50 on any co-developed programs in the U.S. Seattle Genetics will retain exclusive commercial rights outside of the United States, paying Unum high single to mid-double digit royalties on outside-the-U.S. sales.

As a result of the upfront payments and development activity called for under the collaboration, Seattle Genetics said it will provide revised 2015 financial guidance in connection with announcing its second quarter financial results, planned for July 30.

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