Adaptive Biotechnologies and Genentech Launch Personalized Cancer-Care Program Worth $2 Billion+

Genentech logo on large outdoor sign

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Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies forged a collaboration with Genentech that could be worth up to $2 billion to develop and commercialize novel neoantigen directed T-cell therapies for the individualized treatment of a broad range of cancers.

The companies will combine Genentech’s noted immunotherapy research and medications with Adaptive’s proprietary T-cell receptor (TCR) discovery and immune profiling platform TruTCR to accelerate a transformational new treatment paradigm of tailoring cellular therapy for each patient’s individual cancer, the company announced this morning.

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Adaptive Biotechnologies Chief Executive Officer Chad Robins said he was thrilled that Genentech selected his company for a neoantigen directed T-cell therapies partnership.

“Genentech brings an industry-leading team of scientists and drug development experts who could potentially enable our patented TCR discovery and immune profiling platform to help as many patients as possible,” Robins said in a statement.

Adaptive will use its investigational TCR discovery platform to identify the optimal TCRs to most effectively target each patient’s neoantigens for treatment. Adaptive’s TruTCR screening platform enables the discovery of TCRs against any type of clinically relevant antigen at high throughput. For its part of the collaboration, Genentech will engineer and manufacture a personalized cellular medicine to deliver to each patient. The goal is to harness the vast majority of therapeutically relevant, patient-specific neoantigens and advance the next generation of cellular therapies in oncology, the companies said this morning.

To begin with, the collaboration will first leverage Adaptive’s growing library of well-characterized antigen-specific TCRs that have been screened against thousands of known cancer antigens in patients. Ultimately, though, Adaptive said the goal is to “screen and select a patient’s own potent TCRs targeting their own most relevant neoantigens as a personalized therapy.” An individual patient screening process will be developed as part of the manufacturing process for each treated patient. This will be done so in order to have a tailor-made cell therapy for that specific patient’s cancer.

Harlan Robins, head of innovation and a co-founder of Adaptive, said that cell therapy approaches in cancer have so far been limited by an inability to effectively screen and translate the immune response to patient-specific neoantigens. An accurate recognition of such neoantigens is a major driver in the activity of novel immunotherapies, he added.

James Sabry, global head of pharma partnering at Roche, Genentech’s parent company, said targeting neoantigens could be the most effective approach for harnessing a person’s immune system to fight cancer. The partnership with Adaptive “has the potential to change the way cancer is treated and bring us one step closer to truly personalized healthcare,” Sabry said.

Under terms of the deal, Adaptive will receive $300 million in upfront money and, if certain developmental, regulatory and commercial milestones are hit, could earn more than $2 billion over time. Genentech will have responsibility for clinical, regulatory, and commercialization efforts, and Adaptive will be responsible for patient-specific screening on a global basis, according to the announced agreement.

While Adaptive will partner with Genentech, the company noted that it will continue to use its TCR platform to collaborate in the development of cellular therapies in other disease areas, including autoimmune conditions and infectious diseases.

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