A T cell team-up
Mogrify, Sangamo ink exclusive license agreement for the development of cell therapies
CAMBRIDGE, U.K. & BRISBANE, Calif.—Novel cell therapies are the goal of a new agreement between Mogrify Ltd and Sangamo Therapeutics. The companies have kicked off a collaboration and exclusive license agreement under which Sangamo will develop allogeneic cell therapies from Mogrify's proprietary induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and embryonic stem cells (ESCs), as well as from Sangamo's zinc finger protein (ZFP) gene-engineered chimeric antigen receptor regulatory T cell (CAR-Treg) technology.
Per the terms of the deal, Mogrify will assume responsibility for discovering and optimizing the cell conversion technology from iPSCs or ESCs to regulatory T cells. For its part, Sangamo will receive exclusive rights to leverage Mogrify's technology to generate Tregs from iPSCs or ESCs, after which Sangamo intends to apply its own ZFP gene-engineering technology to turn the Tregs into off-the-shelf CAR-Treg cell therapy candidates with the potential to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. While no specific financial details were released, the agreement stipulates that Mogrify will receive an upfront payment and will be eligible to receive additional payments tied to the achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones, as well as product sales.
“This license agreement provides Sangamo with access to Mogrify’s cell conversion technology, which will diversify our options as we develop off-the-shelf allogeneic CAR-Treg cell therapies,” Jason Fontenot, senior vice president and head of Cell Therapy at Sangamo, said in a press release. “We expect this collaboration to accelerate our development of scalable and accessible CAR-Treg cell therapies, so that we can potentially deliver treatments to patients with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases more rapidly.”
As explained on the company's website, Mogrify's technology platform offers “a systematic means of identifying the optimal combination of transcription factors required to convert any cell type into any other cell type.” By starting with iPSCs and ESCs, Mogrify is capable of more complex engineering with improved manufacturing scalability, which the company reports could result in more cost-effective therapies. Sangamo's ZFN technology offers single-nucleotide precision, high efficiency and high specificity, which Sangamo noting that ZFNs are designed to engage “with almost no detectable off-target effects.”
“Mogrify is delighted to announce its second commercial deal with a U.S. biopharma and the first in the exciting field of T cell immunotherapy,” commented Dr. Darrin M. Disley, CEO of Mogrify. “The combination of Mogrify’s proprietary systematic cell conversion technology and Sangamo’s regulatory T cell platform and proprietary ZFP platform is a natural fit. Sangamo is at the forefront of the development of a world-class engineered ZFP genome-editing platform, and we are very happy to be partnering with such an innovative company.”
In other recent partnering news for Sangamo, the company announced on April 9 that it had closed its sale of stock to Biogen Inc., and as such, their global licensing collaboration agreement is underway. The deal is focused on developing and commercializing gene regulation therapies for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, neuromuscular and other neurological diseases. Biogen has paid $225 million to purchase newly issued Sangamo stock, and will also make an upfront license fee payment of $125 million by no later than May 8. All told, Sangamo could receive up to $2.37 billion in milestone payments from this dealing, including up to $925 million for reaching certain pre-approval milestones and up to $1.445 billion for achieving first commercial sale and other sales-based milestones. Sangamo also stands to receive tiered high single-digit to sub-teen double-digit royalties.