Transgene will help Servier develop new methods based on viral vectors to improve the precision of genetic modifications and the production of CAR-T cells.
The French pharma Servier decided to enter the promising CAR-T field in 2015, when it acquired the rights to UCART19 from Cellectis. The therapy, currently in Phase I, has already saved two babies from an aggressive form of leukemia in compassionate care cases. Now, Servier has decided to partner with Transgene in order to use its viral vector technology to improve the CAR-T technology and its production process.
Servier is offering Transgene more than €30M over an initial period of three years. The collaboration will see scientists from both Servier and Transgene working together to test and select new methods to engineer CAR-T cells using Transgene’s viral vectors. The aim is to make the production process simpler, faster and more effective, as well as increasing the control over the genetic modifications.
Originally, UCART19 was produced using Cellectis’ expertise in TALEN technology, a gene editing technique that allows for precise modifications. Server will now be moving away from TALEN and use viral vectors instead, a technique closer to the approach of other companies like the Belgian Celyad, whose CAR-T candidate is yielding impressive results in the clinic.
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