AbbVie ends Caribou CAR-T partnership

Sept. 27, 2023

AbbVie has decided to terminate its collaboration with Caribou Biosciences, after a two year partnership. 

The two began working together in 2021, using Caribou’s CRISPR genome editing platform to engineer CAR-T cells to withstand host immune attack with the end goal of developing of the next-generation of 'off-the-shelf' cellular therapies to benefit a broader patient population. At the time, Caribou received $40 million in an upfront cash payment and equity investment, along with the promise of up to $300 million in future milestones. 

But in an SEC filing this week, Caribou shared that AbbVie will not advance these two programs, leading to the immediate termination of all licenses granted under the agreement. According to the filing, the termination was a result of AbbVie's "strategic focus" and is unrelated to Caribou's performance during the collaboration or the data generated thus far.

Fortunately for Caribou, Pfizer is still a believer in the biotech's chRDNA genome-editing technology, with the pharma giant putting up a $25 million equity investment and adding one of its development heads to the Caribou scientific advisory board back in July.