Bayer and Atara Biotherapeutics announced an exclusive worldwide license agreement and research, development and manufacturing collaboration for mesothelin-directed CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumours. The agreement includes the development candidate ATA3271, an armored allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy, and an autologous version, ATA2271, for high mesothelin-expressing tumours such as malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small-cell lung cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Atara will lead IND (Investigational New Drug)-enabling studies and process development for ATA3271 while Bayer will be responsible for submitting the IND and subsequent clinical development and commercialisation. Atara will continue to be responsible for the ongoing ATA2271 phase 1 study, for which an IND filing has been accepted and the clinical trial has been initiated. Atara will receive an upfront payment of $60 million and is eligible to receive payments from Bayer upon achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercialisation milestones totaling $610 million, as well as tiered royalties up to low double-digit percentage of net sales.
As part of the transaction, Atara will also provide translational and clinical manufacturing services to be reimbursed by Bayer. In addition, for a limited period of time, Bayer has a non-exclusive right to negotiate a license for additional Atara CAR T product candidates.