Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Pfizer to hold 25% ownership stake in Allogene Therapeutics

Published 04 April 2018

Pfizer has signed an asset contribution agreement with Allogene Therapeutics for its Allogeneic CAR T immuno-oncology portfolio.

Pfizer views this agreement as an attractive opportunity to support the continued development of allogeneic CAR T therapy in a highly focused and skilled manner.

Pfizer will continue to participate financially in the development of the CAR T portfolio through a 25 percent ownership stake in Allogene.

Separately, Pfizer continues to have an 8 percent ownership stake in Cellectis through an equity agreement entered into in 2014. Allogene, a Two River portfolio company, was formed with Series A financing of $300 million from an investment consortium that includes TPG, Vida Ventures, BellCo Capital, the University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer and Pfizer, among others.

TPG, Vida Ventures, BellCo Capital and Pfizer will be represented on the Allogene Board of Directors. Closing is expected in the second quarter of 2018, subject to closing conditions.

Pfizer oncology research & development senior vice president and group head Robert Abraham said: “The allogeneic CAR T platform represents a potentially transformative approach to treating cancer, and we are very excited about what the future may hold for this area of research.

“We believe that under the strong scientific, clinical development and regulatory expertise of Allogene’s leadership team, the portfolio of CAR T assets contributed by Pfizer will be well-positioned to rapidly advance into potential innovative new therapies, and ultimately to reach patients in need more quickly.”

Belldegrun said: “While there is important work underway across the industry for next-generation autologous cell therapy, Allogene hopes to bring about the next revolution in the field with the successful development of allogeneic cell therapy and the potential for greater and faster patient access.

“Under the direction of David Chang, an extraordinary scientist, physician and life sciences business executive with over 30 years of unprecedented experience in developing cancer treatments, Allogene is poised to potentially lead the development of one of the most exciting opportunities in our industry today.”

Chang said: “Last year, Kite’s anti-CD19 CAR T therapy became the first autologous CAR T treatment to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adult patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Many believed the idea was rooted in science fiction, but science fiction became a reality.

“We believe that this partnership among leaders in the field – visionaries, industry forerunners, venture capitalists and researchers – has the potential to accelerate the development of allogeneic T cell therapy, making it a reality and forever changing how cancer is treated.”

TPG Capital managing partner Todd Sisitsky said: “Investing in innovation and R&D has long been a hallmark of who we are as investors, and for many years, we’ve been partnering with dynamic companies that are driving meaningful change in healthcare.

“We believe CAR T is one of the most exciting spaces within the pharmaceutical landscape today, and we are thrilled to partner with a best-in-class management team and industry leaders to invest in this potentially groundbreaking opportunity.”

Cellectis CEO André Choulika said: “As a pioneer of the allogeneic approach and expert in gene editing, the Cellectis team is excited by this agreement and eager to continue this groundbreaking work with Allogene’s experienced team, striving to accelerate the development of the portfolio and to continue along the path of making these treatments available to patients as soon as possible.

Servier Group president Olivier Laureau said: “I believe that the recognized expertise of the Allogene team in the field of CAR T will be of benefit to the development of UCART19, for which Servier is the sponsor of two clinical studies.

“The development of off-the-shelf allogeneic CAR T therapy in the field of oncology initiates a revolution that could potentially expand access of such innovative treatment to a larger number of oncologists and their patients.”

Centerview Partners is acting as financial advisor to Pfizer, with Ropes & Gray LLP acting as its legal advisor. Cooley LLP is serving as legal counsel to Allogene, Vida Venture and TPG. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP are also serving as legal counsel to TPG.

Source: Company Press Release.