June 18 U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, which
failed last month in a $118 billion bid to buy AstraZeneca
, said on Wednesday it had signed a deal with French
biotech Cellectis to develop immunotherapy drugs in
Boosting the body's immune system to fight tumours is a hot
area for drug research and was one of the factors that attracted
Pfizer to Britain's AstraZeneca - along with the potential to
cut costs and taxes.
Under the new deal, Cellectis will receive an upfront
payment of $80 million, as well as funding for research costs.
The French biotech firm will also be eligible to get
development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up
to $185 million per Pfizer product, plus tiered royalties on any
Pfizer has exclusive rights to develop products against 15
biological targets for fighting cancer it selects, while another
12 targets can be selected by Cellectis.
In addition, Pfizer will buy a stake of about 10 percent in
Cellectis through newly issued shares at 9.25 euros each.
Cellectis is developing so-called Chimeric Antigen Receptor
T-cell, or CAR-T, immunotherapies using engineered cells from a
single donor for use in multiple patients.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Pravin Char)