Penningtons Manches advises Adaptimmune on GSK cancer immunotherapy collaboration

Penningtons Manches has advised Adaptimmune, a biotechnology company, on its multi-million-dollar strategic collaboration and licensing agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the development and commercialisation of its lead clinical cancer programme.

Believed to be one of the largest deals in the UK life sciences sector in 2014, Adaptimmune was advised by Penningtons Manches commercial and IP partner, Kerry Sharp, a member of the firm’s life sciences practice.

According to the agreed development plan, the deal could yield payments in excess of $350m (£209m) to Adaptimmune over the next seven years, together with significant additional development and commercialisation payments becoming due in subsequent years if GSK exercises all its options and milestones continue to be met.

In addition, Adaptimmune would also receive tiered royalties ranging from single to double digits on net sales.

Adaptimmune is focused on using the body’s own machinery — the T cell — to target and destroy cancerous or infected cells by using engineered, increased affinity T-cell receptor (TCRs) as a means of strengthening a patient’s natural T-cell responses.

The company has ongoing clinical programmes in multiple cancer indications with its NY-ESO-1/LAGE-1 cancer testis antigen. European trials are set to commence shortly and the company has also announced that it is taking a second T-cell-based therapy into the clinic in triple negative breach cancer in 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement with GSK, Adaptimmune will co-develop its NY-ESO-1 clinical programme and associated manufacturing optimisation work together with GSK. GSK will have an option on the NY-ESO-1 programme through clinical proof of concept, anticipated during 2016, and, on exercise, will assume full responsibility for the programme. The companies will also co-develop other TCR target programmes and collaborate on further optimisation of engineered TCR products.