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AstraZeneca Finalizes Equity Investment, Research Collaboration with Cellectis


Joint venture aims to develop up to 10 new cell and gene therapy products targeting areas with high unmet medical needs.

Gene therapy DNA 3D chemical molecule structure low poly. Polygonal triangle point line healthy cell part. Innovation blue medicine genome engineering vector illustration future business technology. Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/LuckyStep

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/LuckyStep

AstraZeneca announced that it has officially completed its equity investment and research collaboration agreement with Cellectis, a biotechnology company specializing in gene editing technologies. According to the company, the agreement is expected to result in a collaboration to develop up to 10 different cell and gene therapy (CGT) products in areas such as oncology, immunology, and rare diseases. Regarding terms of the deal, Cellectis earned an upfront payment of $105 million, which included $25 million in cash and $80 million in an equity investment. Cellectis will have the opportunity to profit further through an investigational new drug (IND) option fee, and additional payments based on development, regulatory, and sales milestones that could range from $70 million to $220 million.1

The collaboration, which was first announced last November, will involve AstraZeneca using Cellectis’ proprietary gene editing technologies and manufacturing capabilities to its advantage, working to design novel cell and gene therapy products.2

“The differentiated capabilities Cellectis has in gene editing and manufacturing complement our in-house expertise and investments made in the past year. AstraZeneca continues to advance our ambition in cell therapy for oncology and autoimmune diseases as well as in genomic medicine, which has potential to be transformative for patients with rare diseases,” said Marc Dunoyer, chief strategy officer, AstraZeneca, CEO, Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease, in a press release.

Additional terms state that AstraZeneca will retain an option for a worldwide exclusive license for the candidate products developed under the research collaboration agreement, to be exercised before IND filing.1,2

“We believe AstraZeneca is the perfect match to Cellectis by providing world-class expertise in the development and the commercialization of innovative medicines. This collaboration will allow us to leverage our pioneering research in gene editing and cell therapies, as well as our cutting-edge capabilities in manufacturing with the ambition to bring potentially life-saving therapies to patients with unmet medical need,” said André Choulika, PhD, CEO, Cellectis, in the press release.

Last month, Cellectis released its financial results for 2023, and offered some promising news regarding UCART20x22, a treatment for relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Preliminary results indicated one partial and two complete metabolic responses in patients who have failed prior autologous CD19 CAR T-cell therapies.3

“In Q4 2023, Cellectis entered into strategic collaboration and investment agreements with AstraZeneca. We are very proud of our partnership to design and develop the next generation of cell and gene therapy medicines with one of the most respected pharmaceutical companies. This collaboration will allow Cellectis and AstraZeneca to join forces and advance potentially breakthrough innovations in the cell and gene therapy space,” said Choulika, in a press release.


1. AstraZeneca completes equity investment agreement with Cellectis. AstraZeneca. May 6, 2024. Accessed May 7, 2024. https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2024/astrazeneca-completes-cellectis-equity-investment.html

2. AstraZeneca announces collaboration and investment agreement with Cellectis to accelerate cell therapy and genomic medicine ambitions. AstraZeneca. November 1, 2023. Accessed May 7, 2024. https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2023/astrazeneca-cell-and-gene-therapy-deal-w-cellectis.html

3. Cellectis Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023. GlobeNewswire. April 29, 2024. Accessed May 7, 2024. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2024/04/29/2871677/0/en/Cellectis-Reports-Financial-Results-for-the-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2023.html

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