Biotech

NASDAQ:BLUE

bluebird bio and Gritstone Oncology announced Thursday in a joint press release that they will research, develop and commercialize oncology cell therapy treatments.

On the path to find more treatments for cancer, two companies have announced a collaboration in an effort to do so.

bluebird bio (NASDAQ:BLUE) and Gritstone Oncology announced Thursday (August 23) in a joint press release the two will research, develop and commercialize oncology cell therapy treatments.

In terms of technology, Gritstone will combine its Gritstone’s Edge artificial intelligence platform to promote further development of bluebird-established cell therapy platforms. The latter will perform all development, manufacturing and commercial activities.

“Combining our expertise in gene and cell therapy with Gritstone Oncology’s unique target identification and T-cell receptors (TCRs) technology, we hope to bring the power of cell therapy to a broader set of newly-validated targets,” Philip Gregory, chief scientific officer of bluebird bio, said in the press release. “Enabling us to treat previously unaddressable patient populations.”

This collaboration was initiated to keep up with the growing immuno-oncology market, and its growing need for potent tumor cell killing TCRs, CEO Andrew Allen said in the press release.

Gritstone’s Edge will analyze specific tumor types for targets and natural TCRs directed to those targets. In addition to receiving US$30 million from a Series C preferred equity investment, the company is also eligible for significant development, regulatory and commercial milestones for any therapy and tiered royalties for specific-approved therapies.

The company is responsible for providing 10 tumor-specific targets for several tumor types and possibly TCRs directed to those targets for bluebird.

Currently in bluebird’s pipeline for oncology are two drugs for multiple myeloma and another candidate with undisclosed targets. bluebird’s oncology pipeline is developed from the company’s lentiviral gene delivery and T cell engineering, and has a focus on novel T cell-based immunotherapies.

bluebird is also working on programs in severe genetic diseases, including cerebral ALD and severe sickle cell disease among others.

Other than this collaboration, bluebird has collaborations with the Boston Children’s Hospital, Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), MediGene (OTCPINK:MDGEF) and TC BioPharm.

Gritstone is also developing tumor-specific cancer immunotherapies to fight multiple cancer types, but most drug candidates are currently in preclinical development. The company’s Edge is a unique antigen discovery platform, which defines targets for immunotherapies, enabling the company to partner and develop new therapeutic approaches for its technology.

Investor takeaway

While Gritstone is a private company, bluebird’s share price decreased 0.65 percent to close at US$160.55 on Thursday.

According to TipRanks, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Elemer Piros reiterated a “Sell” rating for the company with a US$122 price target.

The companies may not have released any additional milestones for investors to look forward to, but with a pipeline as complex as bluebird and Gritstone, the two should soon have news about expanding this collaboration.

Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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