Base editing firm Beam licenses Oxford Biomedica’s vector tech

Beam Therapeutics has licensed use of Oxford Biomedica’s Lentivector platform for the development of CAR-T therapies.

Under the deal Beam can use the platform – a lentiviral based gene delivery system – for its cancer cell therapy programs. Oxford will also supply Beam with vectors for use in clinical trials for three years.

Beam paid Oxford an undisclosed fee and has agreed to make further payments for vector supply. The UK firm will also receive royalties from the sale of products developed using the platform.

Image: iStock/PashaIgnatov

Beam was founded in 2017. Its product candidates are produced using “base editing,” a technology which, as the name suggests, is capable of making single base changes in genes without cutting the DNA.

Beam is one of several firms to have licensed use of Lentivector. In 2013, Novartis paid for access to the vector technology.

More recently Bristol Myers-Squibb’s Juno Therapeutics unit singed and agreement granting it access to the platform.

According to Oxford’s preliminary results presentation revenue from its platform segment – which Includes revenue received from commercial partnerships related to the Lentivector platform – was around £50 million ($65 million) in 2019.

Trial supplies

The Beam agreement is also the third supply deal Oxford Biomedica has announced in a week.

On July 31 the firm agreed to supply Axovant Gene Therapies with AXO-Lenti-PD, a candidate Parkinson’s disease gene therapy. Oxford licensed AXO-Lenti-PD – previously known as OXB-102 – to Axovant in 2018.

Oxford said it expects to make AXO-Lenti-PD at its Oxbox facility in the UK, adding that it may expand production to other plants if required.

Prior to that Oxford signed a one year clinical and commercial supply agreement with AstraZeneca under which it will make AZD1222 – the latter’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate – at its Oxbox facility.

The deal requires Oxford Biomedica to provide AstraZeneca with multiple batches of vaccine, the majority of which are expected to be produced throughout 2020.

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