Quell Therapeutics Ltd, developer of engineered T-regulatory cell (Treg) therapies for serious immune-driven medical conditions, has entered into a collaboration, exclusive option, and licensing agreement with AstraZeneca to develop, manufacture, and commercialize autologous engineered T-cells. therapy for two indications of autoimmune disease.
“We are very pleased to have AstraZeneca as our first major partner. This collaboration builds on our pioneering work to develop highly engineered multi-modular Treg cell therapies for immune disorders and provides excellent validation for the technology and capabilities we have built,” said Iain McGill, chief executive of Quell Therapeutics.
“We are proud and very excited to partner with our leading science with AstraZeneca’s deep experience to accelerate the adoption of our Treg cell therapy platform in major autoimmune diseases, where we believe there are broad opportunities to reset immune tolerance and drive durable responses for patients. ”
“This is a very exciting collaboration with Quell as we look to expand the next-generation therapeutic toolbox and explore the untapped potential with Treg cell therapy in autoimmune indications. This aligns with our strategy to target underlying disease triggers, halt or slow disease progression, and ultimately accelerate the delivery of transformative care to patients with chronic autoimmune conditions,” added Sir Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, R&D BioPharmaceuticals at AstraZeneca.
Quell Therapeutics can receive up to $2 billion
Under the terms of the agreement, the Quell Therapeutics toolbox of the Treg cell engineering module, including Foxp3 Phenotype Lock, will be leveraged to develop autologous multi-modular Treg cell therapy candidates for type 1 diabetes (T1D) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). AstraZeneca will have the option to further develop and commercialize the successful candidate, with Quell Therapeutics responsible for process development and manufacturing of the clinical candidate until the end of the first human clinical study.
Quell Therapeutics will receive an $85 million upfront from AstraZeneca, consisting of a primary cash payment and an equity investment. Quell Therapeutics is also eligible to receive over $2 billion in further development and commercialization milestones, if successful, plus tiered royalties. In addition, Quell Therapeutics maintains the option, which may be exercised either after new investigational drug application (IND) approval or at the end of a phase I/II clinical study, to co-develop Treg cell therapies from the T1D program with AstraZeneca in the US in exchange for milestone payments. additional and increased royalties on US net sales.
Quell Therapeutics retains full ownership of its principal Treg cell therapy candidate QEL-001, which is designed to prevent organ rejection and eliminate the need for lifelong immunosuppression in liver transplant patients, and is expected to enter its first human trials during 2023, as well as its preclinical program in nerve inflammation.