Janssen, Cellular Biomedicine sign CAR-T partnership

May 2, 2023

Janssen Biotech and Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) have partnered to develop and manufacture next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, the two announced this week.

According to the agreement, Janssen will pay an upfront fee of $245 million with additional payments based on milestones achieved in development, regulatory, and sales, as well as tiered royalty payments. The collaboration will give Janssen the option to license CBMG’s CAR-T assets for B-cell malignancies worldwide, excluding China.

B-cell malignancies are cancers that originate from B cells, such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). NHL is the most common type of B-cell lymphoma, with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) being the most prevalent. According to Janssen, in 2020, over 540,000 new cases of NHL occurred worldwide, and over 259,000 people died from the disease.

CBMG has been developing treatments for DLBCL. C-CAR039, which is currently in phase 1b trials, is a bispecific CAR-T therapy that targets both CD19 and CD20 antigens and has received FDA clearance for Investigational New Drug (IND), Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy, and Fast Track designations for treating patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL.  C-CAR066 targets CD20 antigen. A phase 1b study in R/R DLBCL patients is expected to start in the second half of 2023.

About the partnership, Janssen’s vice president and disease area leader of hematologic malignancies Yusri Elsayed said, “The Cellular Biomedicine Group team has discovered differentiated cell therapies with clinically validated CD20 CAR constructs, and we look forward to harnessing our expertise, capabilities and scale to lead the global development of these innovative CAR-T products.”