Novartis takes license on Celyad’s allogeneic CAR T cells

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Celyad, a leader in the discovery and development of cell therapies, today announced a non-exclusive license agreement with Novartis for Celyad’s US patents for the production of allogeneic CAR T cells. This license agreement is related to two targets currently under development by Novartis.

Under the terms of the agreement Celyad receives an upfront payment and is eligible to receive success based clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. If all success based milestones are achieved, Celyad is eligible to receive payments, including the upfront payment, totalling $96 million. In addition, Celyad will receive single digit royalties based on net sales of the licensed target associated products. Novartis has the option to extend the agreement to additional targets and/or to convert its license into an exclusive license. Celyad retains all rights to grant further licenses to third parties for the use of allogeneic CAR T cells.

Celyad will not be involved in the development of Novartis’ CAR T cells. Celyad will continue to focus on the development of its CAR T pipeline, including its allogeneic NKR-2 T cell immunotherapy in the EU and US territories and in collaboration with Ono Pharmaceuticals, its partner in Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Christian Homsy, CEO of Celyad, said: “This non-exclusive agreement with Novartis recognizes the importance of our IP for companies developing allogeneic CAR T therapies”.

The agreement includes Celyad’s intellectual property rights under United States Patent No. 9,181,527 related to allogeneic human primary T-Cells that are engineered to be T-Cell Receptor (TCR) deficient and express a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR). The granted claims are not limited to specific CARs or specific methods of generating allogeneic CAR T cells, such as genome editing or genetic engineering.