Business, Capital

Flush with a $164M raise, Cellectis ups its bet on CAR-T and gene editing programs

With new partners at Allogene Therapeutics, Cellectis $CLLS is ready to hustle its off-the-shelf CAR-T therapies to the market — taking advantage of $164 million it’s just raised from a public offering.

Cellectis CEO André Choulika

The Paris-based biotech spelled out the intended uses of the proceeds in an SEC filing, allocating $100 million to establish commercial capabilities for its current immuno-oncology candidates, $20 million for an additional UCART product candidate, and $30 million to pursue a non-oncology application of its gene editing technology.

Part of preparing for commercialization will be a gene-edited cell manufacturing plant for commercial supplies of Cellectis’ off-the-shelf CAR-T therapies. Unlike the personalized autologous CAR-Ts already approved, which requires harvesting cells from each individual patient to tailor-make a treatment, Cellectis’ process can theoretically produce multiple batches from a single donor.

Arie Belldegrun

Following a deal that brand new Allogene struck with Pfizer, a team led by Arie Belldegrun and David Chang — the masterminds at Kite Pharma — has taken charge of developing UCART19. Meanwhile, the Cellectis team will continue to focus on Phase I studies of UCART123, which bounced back from a clinical halt just months ago.

CEO André Choulika, who’s had a respectful relationship with Belldegrun, told Endpoints News earlier that he expects the new partnership will accelerate the work on the lead therapy, with a shot at commercialization in late 2021 or 2022.

If all goes according to plan, Cellectis will be eligible to receive up to $2.8 billion in clinical and commercial milestone payments for 15 targets, according to the filing.


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