We are developing therapies that, administered just once, have the potential to transform the lives of people with severe genetic and rare diseases and cancer. Our current platform is just the beginning. We are committed to continuing to develop gene therapy technologies and capabilities that have broad potential beyond the core indications.
We are actively seeking collaborators and licensing opportunities in the U.S. and around the world to explore the therapeutic potential of our technologies in new cell types and diseases.
In March 2013, we teamed up with Celgene Corporation to develop chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies to target and destroy cancer cells. In June 2015, we amended and restated our collaboration to focus on developing product candidates targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) during a three-year term. BCMA is the first target selected to advance to the clinic under this collaboration. BCMA is a cell surface protein that is expressed in normal plasma cells and in most multiple myeloma cells, but is absent from other normal tissues.
We are working in collaboration with Celgene on the initial, lead anti-BCMA product candidate (bb2121), and develop next-generation anti-BCMA product candidates. We will retain sole rights to develop all other chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell programs developed by us under the collaboration, including ongoing undisclosed preclinical programs with opportunities in both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.
We entered a strategic collaboration with Kite Pharma in June 2015 to co-develop and co-commercialize second generation T cell receptor (TCR) product candidates directed against the human papillomavirus type 16 E6 (HPV-16 E6) oncoprotein, incorporating our gene editing and lentiviral technologies. Under the terms of the agreement, we will jointly develop and commercialize second-generation TCR product candidates directed against the HPV-16 E6 oncoprotein, incorporating gene editing to efficiently modify certain genes to enhance T cell function. In addition, we will explore using lentiviral vectors to optimize delivery of HPV-16 E6 TCRs into patients’ T cells.
In December 2015, we entered into an exclusive license agreement to research, develop and commercialize chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies using ViroMed’s proprietary humanized antibody to an undisclosed cancer target for solid tumors.
Under the terms of the agreement, ViroMed will provide us exclusive rights to its novel humanized antibody to the target, and we will leverage our proprietary lentiviral gene therapy platform and CAR T capabilities to develop CAR T therapies against the target. Financial terms of the agreement include a $1 million upfront payment and subsequent milestone payments to ViroMed, which together could total over $48 million per licensed product if certain development and regulatory milestones are achieved. ViroMed is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on product sales. bluebird bio will conduct and fund clinical development as well as regulatory and commercial activities.
In June 2016, we entered into a strategic manufacturing agreement with Lonza Houston, Inc., providing for the future commercial production of our Lenti-D™ and LentiGlobin™ drug products.
This agreement follows a successful multi-year clinical manufacturing relationship and provides us with a path to commercial supply including dedicated production suites within Lonza’s state-of-the-art facility. Under this multi-year agreement, Lonza will complete the suite design, construction and validation along with process validation prior to anticipated commercial launch.
In September 2016, we entered into a strategic research and development collaboration and licensing agreement with Medigene AG for T cell receptor (TCR) immunotherapies against four targets. In this partnership, Medigene will be responsible for the generation and delivery of the TCRs using its TCR isolation and characterization platform. Following the collaborative preclinical development, bluebird bio will assume sole responsibility for the clinical development and commercialization of the TCR product candidates and will receive an exclusive license for the intellectual property covering the resulting TCRs.
In December 2016, we entered into a strategic manufacturing agreement with apceth Biopharma for the future European commercial production of our Lenti-D™ product candidate for cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy and our LentiGlobin™ product candidate for transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia.
Under this multi-year agreement, apceth Biopharma will perform clinical manufacturing, process validation activities and commercial manufacturing for LentiGlobin and Lenti-D drug product to support the treatment of European patients with transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia and cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy, respectively. This agreement follows a successful multi-year manufacturing relationship and provides us with European commercial manufacturing capabilities, including dedicated production suites within apceth Biopharma’s state-of-the-art GMP facility.