SAN DIEGO – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company focused on the development and commercialization of primary allogeneic natural killer cell (NK) therapies to treat cancer, today announced that it has entered into a global collaboration exclusive and licensing agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to develop novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) -NK cell therapies targeting solid antigens associated with tumors. The collaboration will leverage Artiva’s ready-to-use allogeneic NK cell manufacturing platform, as well as its proprietary CAR-NK technology. The collaboration initially includes two CAR-NK programs with an option for a third, neither of which is in Artiva’s current or planned pipeline. The agreement provides that Artiva will expand the CAR-NK programs through the first GMP manufacturing campaign and IND preparation, followed by a transfer to Merck for clinical and commercial development.
Under the terms of the agreement, Artiva will receive an upfront payment of $ 30 million for the first two programs and an additional payment of $ 15 million if Merck exercises its option for a third program. Artiva is also eligible to receive future developments and commercial milestones of up to $ 612 million per program and royalties are payable by Merck on worldwide sales of any product derived from the collaboration. Merck has agreed to provide research funding to Artiva for each of the programs as part of the collaboration.
“Our NK platform has been developed to be truly out-of-the-box and we believe it will be further validated by this exclusive collaboration with Merck, as we work together to bring cell therapies to all patients who may have it. benefit, ”said Dr Peter. Flynn, COO of Artiva. “This collaboration will combine Merck’s advanced immuno-oncology expertise and capabilities with our highly scalable and optimized CAR-NK platform,” added Dr. Fred Aslan, CEO of Artiva.
“At Merck, we continue to explore new ways to turn the most innovative science into better therapies for the patients who need them most,” said Dr. Nick Haining, vice president, head of discovery in oncology and immunology, Merck Research Laboratories. “We look forward to working with the Artiva team in the hopes of developing new cancer treatments based on NK cells. ”
Artiva’s targeted NK cell therapies take advantage of the innate anti-tumor biology and safety characteristics of NK cells. Therapies are optimized for increased efficacy through CARs, combination therapy of therapeutic antibodies and genetic engineering. The Merck CAR-NK collaboration programs will take advantage of Artiva’s new NK-specific CAR costimulation structures and proprietary large-scale NK cell manufacturing platform. Artiva’s manufacturing platform supports the large-scale production and cryopreservation of allogeneic NK cell therapies and proprietary gene editing technologies specific to CAR-NK and NK to increase therapeutic activity.
About Artiva Biotherapeutics: developing NK cell therapy for cancer
Artiva’s mission is to provide cancer patients with highly effective, safe and immediately accessible cellular immunotherapies. Artiva’s internal CAR-NK programs include AB-201, a new HER2-specific CAR-NK cell therapy for the treatment of HER2 + solid tumors, and AB-202, a CD19-specific CAR-NK cell therapy for the treatment of B. malignancies, which is under development under Artiva’s master license and option agreement with GC LabCell Corporation, with plans to enter clinical trials in 2022. The pipeline of Artiva also includes AB-101, a universal NK cell therapy for use in combination with monoclonal or innate cell mobilizing antibodies. The company is currently advancing a clinical trial of AB-101 in combination with rituximab for the treatment of relapsed or refractory B cell lymphomas. Artiva’s NK cell platform incorporates cell expansion, activation and engineering technology developed by the company’s business partner, GC LabCell, a member of the GC family of companies, one of the major biopharmaceutical groups in the Republic of Korea. Artiva is headquartered in San Diego. For more information, please visit www.artivabio.com.