Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Adicet Bio said today they will partner to develop next-generation engineered immune-cell therapeutics through a collaboration that will generate $25 million upfront for Adicet, plus research funding.

Under their 5-year research collaboration, Regeneron and Adicet said they plan to enable the precise engagement and killing of tumor cells by engineering immune cells with fully human chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T-cell receptors (TCRs) directed to disease-specific cell-surface antigens.

Regeneron and Adicet agreed to identify and validate appropriate targets and work together to develop a pipeline of engineered immune-cell therapeutics for the selected targets. The collaboration is intended to generate multiple clinical product candidates for various blood and solid tumor cancers.

The collaboration gives Regeneron the option to obtain development and commercial rights for an unspecified number of product candidates, with Adicet having an option either to participate in the development and commercialization on these potential products or receive royalty payments from Regeneron.

However, the immune-cell therapy product candidates Adicet opts to develop and commercialize will be subject to Adicet, in return, paying royalties to Regeneron. The partnership also gives Regeneron the right to apply the targeting molecules developed under the collaboration in its other monoclonal and bispecific antibody programs, including those within its ongoing immuno-oncology collaboration with Sanofi.

“Our proprietary technology platforms give us the ability to develop optimized monoclonal and bispecific antibodies, antibody–drug conjugates, and now CARs and TCRs for engineered immune-cell therapeutics, opening the door to many different combination approaches to treat cancer patients,” George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., CSO of Regeneron and President of Regeneron Laboratories, said in a statement.

Added Aya Jakobovits, Ph.D., Adicet’s president and CEO: “The collaboration leverages complementary strengths and technologies of the two companies and expands Adicet's ability to grow a broad pipeline of novel immune-cell products to fight different cancer indications.”