bluebird bio to Collaborate with Inhibrx on Cancer Immunotherapies

bluebird bio logo

bluebird bio, a gene therapy company with operations in Durham, has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Inhibrx of La Jolla, Calif., to research, develop and commercialize cancer immunotherapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Inhibrx will provide bluebird the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize certain cell therapy products containing its proprietary single-domain antibodies (sdAbs). bluebird will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialization of cancer-targeting products using the sdAbs and its own chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) technology.

The companies said the small size of sdAbs may enable the generation of more complex CAR T cell products such as those that combine additional functions into a single CAR molecule or that recognize multiple tumor antigens simultaneously.

Inhibrx received a $7 million upfront payment and is also entitled to receive specified developmental milestone payments as well as royalties on future product sales.

“Access to the Inhibrx sdAb binder technology will allow us to combine the advancements we’ve made with our T cell therapy platform with their sdAb binder technology to generate novel cellular therapies with the potential to help patients in their fight against cancer,” said Philip Gregory, D. Phil., chief scientific officer of bluebird bio.

“The technology from Inhibrx adds to our growing portfolio of tools and technologies that we can combine with our internal lentiviral vector, CAR and T cell expertise to discover potential new product candidates designed to recognize tumor-specific proteins expressed by cancer cells and kill them upon engagement.”

Brendan Eckelman, chief scientific officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy at Inhibrx, said, “Together with bluebird bio, we have generated compelling proof of concept preclinical data on the utility of incorporating our sdAbs into bluebird bio’s constructs for CAR-T cell generation.”

bluebird has a product pipeline with broad potential application in severe genetic diseases and cancer, based on its lentiviral-based gene therapies, T cell immunotherapy expertise and gene editing capabilities.

bluebird bio's manufacturing facility in RTP
bluebird bio's manufacturing facility in RTP. -- Courtesy of bluebird bio

bluebird is a publicly held company headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., with facilities in Durham, Seattle and Zug, Switzerland.

The Durham facility is a 125,000-square-foot manufacturing plant that bluebird purchased in 2017. The site’s build-out will allow for production of clinical and commercial supply of lentiviral vector, a critical component of the company’s gene and cell therapies. 

Inhibrx is a privately held clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel biologic therapeutic candidates in oncology, orphan diseases and infectious diseases.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
Mon, 01/07/2019 - 11:42