Juno hires Oxford Biomedica for vectors, platform and OxBox

Juno Therapeutics has licensed Oxford Biomedica’s gene delivery platform in a deal that will also see the latter make vectors for clinical trials.

Juno will use the technology – known as the Lentivector platform – in both its CAR-T and TCR-T development programmes. The US biotech has agreed to pay $10 million upfront as well as $86 million based on the achievement of certain developmental and regulatory milestones.

Oxford Biomedica will also receive sales royalties of up to $131 million from products made using its technology.

Image:iStock/Meletios-Verras

The UK firm will also get payments from process development and scale-up projects as well as relating to the GMP manufacture of lentiviral vectors for use in clinical trials.

The deal also allows Juno to access Oxford Biomedica’s commercial manufacturing center – the OxBox.

Jefferies analyst Philippa Gardner said the deal further validates Oxford Biomedica’s manufacturing capabilities.

In a note to investors she wrote, “A long-awaited deal with high-profile partner Juno, part of BMS, is welcome, providing additional validation of OXB’s manufacturing capabilities.

“This should also optimize capacity utilization and help offset the growing and largely fixed cost base, with new facility OxBox approaching the start of commercial production by end-1H20E, as expected,” she said.

Oxbox

Juno – which is a unit of Bristol-Myers Squibb – is the second firm to sign an agreement focused on Oxford Biomedica’s technology in six months.

The previous deal – which was announced in December – saw Swiss drug manufacturer Novartis contract Oxford to make lentiviral vectors for its CAR-T portfolio, including five lentiviral vectors for CAR-T products.

The agreement – which extended an original manufacturing and supply according signed in 2017 – also granted Novartis access to the OxBox facility.

Oxford Biomedica CEO John Dawson, referenced the Novartis deal in a statement this week.

“This is the second company that has committed to working with us in our new OxBox facility, which we expect to be producing GMP vector by the end of the first half 2020.

“Today’s announcement further validates our decision taken in 2018 to invest in and scale up our GMP manufacturing facilities for clinical and commercial viral vector manufacture to support both existing and new partners and customers as well as the expected demand from industry.”

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