AstraZeneca Boosts Cancer Portfolio with Neogene Buy

01.12.2022 - AstraZeneca has agreed to acquire Neogene Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and manufacture of next-generation T-cell receptor therapies (TCR-Ts) – a promising and novel cell therapy approach to target cancer.

The companies explained that in contrast to current cell therapy approaches focused on modifying the immune system’s T-cells to recognize proteins expressed on the surface of cancer cells, TCR-Ts can recognize intracellular targets, including cancer-specific mutations, potentially unlocking previously inaccessible targets.

“Neogene’s leading TCR discovery capabilities and extensive manufacturing experience complement the cell therapy capability we have built over the last three years and allow us to accelerate the development of potentially curative cell therapies for the benefit of patients,” said Susan Galbraith, executive vice president, oncology R&D at AstraZeneca.

The UK-listed drugmaker will pay up to $320 million for Neogene on a cash and debt-free basis. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to customary conditions and regulatory clearances, after when Neogene will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca.

Formed in 2018, Neogene has headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and in Santa Monica, California, USA. Franz Humer, executive chairman of Neogene, said that in only four years the company has grown from a scientific concept into a rapidly growing clinical-stage company offering a full suite of technologies to enable TCR therapies for cancer patients.

West Chester site sale

In separate news, AstraZeneca has announced it is selling its West Chester site in Ohio, USA, to California-based biopharma manufacturer National Resilience. At the same time, the companies have agreed a long-term agreement under which Resilience will continue to manufacture select AstraZeneca medicines.

Resilience said the West Chester site is equipped with end-to-end drug product manufacturing capabilities, including aseptic filling, inspection, packaging, labeling and cold-chain operations for vials, cartridges, pre-filled syringes and autoinjectors, as well as a virtual reality training center.

“We envision the West Chester site as our global center of excellence for commercial drug product manufacturing that will produce a wide range of life-saving medicines,” said Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi. “This partnership is an exciting step toward our mission of broadening patient access to complex medicines and protecting domestic biopharmaceutical supply chains.”

The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, when all 500 AstraZeneca employees at West Chester will transition to Resilience. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist