SUMMIT, N.J. & SEATTLE—Celgene Corporation and Juno Therapeutics Inc. have announced that Celgene has exercised its option to develop and commercialize the Juno CD19 program outside of North America and China. This triggers a payment to Juno of $50 million, and moving forward, the partners will share global development expenses for products in the program. Celgene will hold commercial rights outside of North America and China, where Juno retains commercialization rights, and Juno will receive a royalty at a percentage in the mid-teens on any future net sales of therapeutic products developed through the CD19 program in Celgene’s territories.
"Our decision to move forward with the Juno CD19 program underscores our commitment to the long-term collaboration with Juno and our strong desire to deliver important new treatment options to patients with serious hematologic malignancies,” Dr. Robert Hershberg, chief scientific officer for Celgene, said in a press release. “CD19-based CAR T therapies hold great promise in B cell malignancies including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Further, the lessons learned from CD19 will inform additional targets and approaches as the Celgene-Juno collaboration evolves.”
Juno currently has three CD19-focused product candidates in clinical development: JCAR015, JCAR017 and JCAR014. JCAR015 is presently in a Phase 2 trial for adults with relapsed or refractory (r/r) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). JCAR017 is being evaluated in two separate Phase 1 trials, one in pediatric patients with r/r ALL and one in patients with r/r non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). JCAR014 is in a Phase 1 trial in three different indications—adult r/r/ ALL, r/r NHL and r/r chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)—as well as another trial in combination with durvalumab, AstraZeneca’s investigational programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibitor.
“Our CD19-directed portfolio of drug candidates has shown encouraging efficacy and manageable toxicity in trials to date across a range of B cell malignancies, and we are pleased that Celgene has decided to opt in to the CD19 program. Celgene’s development and commercial expertise, particularly in hematologic malignancies, make them our ideal partner and will accelerate our global development capabilities for patients with ALL, CLL, and NHL,” Hans Bishop, president and CEO of Juno, commented in a statement. “The long-term collaboration with Celgene is an important component of our plan to develop our engineered T cell platform rapidly and effectively for the benefit of patients around the world, and we are encouraged by the progress we are making together.”
SOURCE: Juno Therapeutics press release