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Gilead and Jounce Therapeutics sign exclusive license pact for novel immunotherapy program

Jounce will lead the development of JTX-1811 through IND clearance, and thereafter, Gilead will have the sole right to develop JTX-1811.

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Gilead Sciences announced an agreement with Jounce Therapeutics to exclusively license its JTX-1811 program.

JTX-1811 is a monoclonal antibody designed to selectively deplete immunosuppressive tumour-infiltrating T regulatory (TITR) cells. The target of JTX-1811 is CCR8, a chemokine receptor enriched on TITR cells. When JTX-1811 binds to CCR8, it targets TITR cells for depletion by enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity mechanism. The antibody remains on track for filing an Investigational New Drug (IND) application in the first half of 2021.

“We are very pleased to add, upon closing of the transaction, JTX-1811 to our pipeline of investigational immuno-oncology therapies that have the potential to transform care for patients with cancer. JTX-1811 is complementary to our other oncology candidates and has the potential to be first in a new class of therapies as a treatment for people with both solid tumours and haematological malignancies,” said William A. Lee, Executive Vice President of Research at Gilead Sciences.

“Gilead’s investment in Jounce and, specifically, JTX-1811 reinforces the value of our Translational Science Platform and differentiated and sustainable approach to novel immuno-oncology programs, focused on patients with cancer who have yet to benefit from immunotherapy. We look forward to seeing JTX-1811 progress to the clinic,” said Richard Murray, PhD, CEO and President of Jounce Therapeutics.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will make a $85 million upfront payment to, and a $35 million equity investment at a premium in, Jounce upon closing. In addition, Jounce may receive up to an additional $685 million in future clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. Jounce will also be eligible to receive royalties ranging from high single-digit to mid-teens based upon worldwide sales, subject to certain adjustments.

Jounce will lead the development of JTX-1811 through IND clearance, and thereafter, Gilead will have the sole right to develop JTX-1811. JTX-1811 is not approved anywhere globally. Its efficacy and safety have not been established.

This transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of 2020, is subject to applicable antitrust clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

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