Pfizer Picks 'Off-The-Shelf' CAR-T And Backs TALEN Over CRISPR
This article was originally published in Scrip
"Not as good as TALEN," was Cellectis's verdict on CRISPR gene editing, and it appears Pfizer concurs. The big pharma has licensed Cellectis's lead TALEN (not CRISPR) gene-edited CAR-T product candidate UCART19. Servier held an option on the rights, but exercised it early and handed it straight over to Pfizer.
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A Phase I study for allogeneic therapy UCARTCS1A was put on clinical hold after a patient died. High dosing and double exposure to cyclophosphamide pre-conditioning may have played a role.
Gilead's newly acquired CAR-T therapy Yescarta, developed by Kite Pharma, won FDA approval for certain B cell lymphomas on Oct. 18 and the company set its price $102,000 below Novartis's competing therapy Kymriah, which was approved in a small pediatric leukemia indication.
Excitement around cell therapy has been building in recent years, but companies expect interest to accelerate after Gilead agreed to buy Kite for $11.9bn and Novartis won the first ever CAR-T approval.