BMS and Century Therapeutics Will Combine Cell Therapy Forces Against Cancer

Bristol Myers_Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Century Therapeutics and Bristol Myers Squibb announced Monday that they have reached an agreement to collaborate on the research, development, and commercialization of up to four induced pluripotent stem cell (“iPSC”) derived, engineered natural killer cell and/or T cell programs for hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

The collaboration uniquely combines Century’s iPSC-based gamma delta T and NK cell platforms and Bristol Myers Squibb’s existing cell therapy technologies. The two companies will initially work on two collaboration programs in acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma. BMS may choose to add up to two additional collaboration programs under certain conditions outlined in the agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Century will be responsible for generating development candidates and preclinical development activities for each collaboration program. BMS will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of development candidates based on Century’s co-promotion rights on specific programs. 

The deal states that Century will get an upfront payment worth $100 million, and Bristol Myers Squibb will make a $50 million equity investment in Century Therapeutics’ common stock at $23.14 per share. 

Also, Century will acquire the reimbursement of certain preclinical development costs for development candidates licensed by BMS and is eligible for additional payments up to $3 billion in future program initiations and development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments across the four potential programs.

BMS will also pay Century tiered royalties as a percentage of global net sales in the high-single to low-double digits. Century has the option to co-promote the initial AML collaboration program and other collaboration programs if BMS elects to expand, for no exercise fee.  

Osvaldo (Lalo) Flores, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Century Therapeutics, said, “We are pleased to partner with Bristol Myers Squibb, a global leader in oncology and hematology, to further expand our pipeline of iPSC-derived cell therapy products for challenging hematological and solid tumor malignancies.” 

Flores added that BMS is an ideal partner because they bring broad clinical development and scientific expertise in cell therapy to boost the probability of producing development candidates that meet pre-specified criteria. 

“Additionally, this collaboration will enable deployment of our next-generation iPSC platform to develop products targeting malignancies that are difficult for biotech companies to tackle on their own,” Flores said.

The strategic collaboration shows promise as both companies look forward to exploring the iPSC approach's full potential to create potentially best-in-class allogeneic cell therapies for patients with hematologic and solid tumor malignancies.

Rupert Vessey, executive vice president and president, research and early development at BMS, believes the partnership can create a better future for people with cancer. “The collaboration with Century Therapeutics is an important part of our investment strategy in next-generation cell therapies for hematologic and solid tumors.”

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