Medigene significantly expands TCR alliance with bluebird bio in cancer immunotherapy

  • Number of T cell receptor (TCR) projects to be increased from four to six
  • Medigene to receive an additional one-time payment of USD 8 million
  • R&D funding and potential milestone payments to Medigene significantly increased reflecting the extended scope of the collaboration
  • Medigene improves cash guidance for 2018

PLANEGG, Germany I May 14, 2018 I Medigene AG (MDG1, Frankfurt, Prime Standard), Germany, today announced the significant expansion of its successful strategic alliance with bluebird bio, a leader in gene and cell therapies, focusing on the research and development of T cell receptor-modified T cell (TCR-T) immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.

"We are delighted to broaden this outstanding collaboration for the joint research and discovery of TCR lead candidates designed for the treatment of multiple cancer indications. Medigene is contributing its unique TCR technology platform, which encompasses multiple innovative screening and assessment tools to identify and characterize specific, non-modified TCRs to selected target antigens in a highly competitive timeframe." said Dolores J. Schendel, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, Medigene . "The expansion of this alliance further validates the efficiency and quality of Medigene's TCR platform technology."

"As we continue to build our leadership in immuno-oncology, we value Medigene's TCR technology platform which enables us to tackle intracellular tumor antigens not addressable by CAR Ts," said Philip Gregory, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, bluebird bio, "Our expanded collaboration will help us broaden our pipeline of TCR lead candidates for potential future clinical development."

Under the revised terms of the agreement, the number of target antigen/MHC restriction combinations for the discovery of specific TCR lead candidates by Medigene will be increased from four to six. As part of this contractual expansion, Medigene will receive an additional one-time payment of USD 8 million. R&D funding for all work performed by Medigene in this collaboration will grow proportionally to address the broader scope of the collaboration. In addition, the aggregate amount of all potential development and commercial milestones as well as royalty payments has been significantly increased in line with the extended number of TCR projects. If successfully developed and marketed through several indications and markets, Medigene could receive up to USD 250 million in milestone payments per TCR program in addition to tiered royalty payments on net sales up to a double-digit percentage. Following the amendment of the agreement, Medigene anticipates receiving an additional payment of USD 1 million associated with the first collaboration project under the agreement.

Based on the terms of the agreement signed in September 2016, Medigene is responsible for the discovery of TCRs for each target antigen selected by bluebird bio using its TCR technology platform. Following the collaborative non-clinical development, bluebird bio will assume sole responsibility for pre-clinical¬ and clinical development and commercialization of the TCR-T cell product candidates and will receive an exclusive license for the intellectual property covering the selected TCRs.

As a result of the payments mentioned above, Medigene improves the Company's cash burn guidance for 2018 and now anticipates a cash usage of EUR 16-19 million instead of EUR 21-25 million for the full year. Revenue, R&D expense and EBITDA guidance for 2018 will not change substantially as a result of this expansion of the agreement. Full financial guidance will be provided in Medigene's 6-months report 2018.

About Medigene's TCR technology: Medigene's TCR therapies aim to arm the patient's own T cells with tumor-specific T cell receptors. The receptor-modified T cells are thereby able to detect and efficiently kill tumor cells. This approach to immunotherapy aims to overcome the patient's tolerance to cancer cells and tumor-induced immunosuppression, by activating the patient's T cells outside the body (ex-vivo), genetically modifying them with tumor-specific TCRs and finally multiplying them. In this way, large numbers of specific T cells to fight the tumor are made available to patients within a short period of time.

Independently from its collaboration with bluebird bio, Medigene is utilizing its TCR platform for the development of a proprietary pipeline of recombinant T cell receptors. In March 2018, Medigene announced the start of a company-sponsored Phase I/II trial with its proprietary TCR-T therapy MDG1011 in various blood cancer indications.

Medigene AG (FSE: MDG1, ISIN DE000A1X3W00, Prime Standard, TecDAX) is a publicly listed biotechnology company headquartered in Martinsried near Munich, Germany. The company is developing highly innovative immunotherapies to target various forms and stages of cancer. Medigene concentrates on the development of personalized T cell-based therapies, with associated projects currently in pre-clinical and clinical development. For more information, please visit: www.medigene.com

SOURCE: Medigene

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