Cellectis, Cytovia In $760M Partnership To Develop Natural Killer Cells; Stock Pops 9%

Cytovia Therapeutics and Cellectis, a clinical stage cell therapy company announced a $760 million research and development collaboration to develop TALEN gene edited iPSC NK and CAR NK cells. Shares of Cellectis jumped more than 9% in Tuesday’s pre-market trading session.

The partnership includes development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $760 million from Cytovia to Cellectis (CLLS) for the first 5 products. Cellectis is also entitled to royalty payments in single digits on net sales of all partnered products that Cytovia will commercialize.

Furthermore, Cellectis will receive a $15 million stake in Cytovia stock or upfront payment of the same amount if certain conditions are not met by end of 2021 as well as an option to invest in future financing rounds.

Cytovia  develops allogenic gene edited Natural Killer (NK) and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) natural killer cells which are derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Cellectis  is currently in clinical stage and focused on developing immunotherapies based on gene edited allogenic CAR T-cells.

Cytovia CEO Daniel Teper said, “Cellectis has proven expertise in gene edited cell therapies and their gene editing technology, TALEN, will yield treatments with improved potency, persistence and safety for different cancers including solid tumors. We look forward to leveraging their experience to help in moving Cytovia’s CAR-NKs into clinical trials by 2022.”

Notably, Cellectis has granted a worldwide license to Cytovia to its TALEN gene editing technology. This allows Cytovia to modify natural killer cells addressing multiple gene targets for therapeutic use in multiple cancer indications. (See Cellectis stock analysis on TipRanks).

Cellectis shares have gained about 48% over the past year. JonesTrading analyst Soumit Roy on Dec. 6 reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $45, implying that an additional 65.6% upside potential lies ahead.

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock. The Moderate Buy consensus rating shows 2 Buys.

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