T-Scan Therapeutics and Novartis entered into a collaborative agreement focused on the discovery and development of novel TCR-engineered T cell therapies for solid tumors. The collaboration will leverage TScan’s proprietary platform to discover novel cancer antigens that may be targeted by TCR-based therapies. The collaboration includes an upfront technology access fee and research funding totaling $30 million, and potential milestone payments contingent on clinical, regulatory and sales success that could aggregate in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Under the agreement, T-Scan will identify and characterize TCRs, and Novartis will have the option to license and develop TCRs for up to three novel targets. Novartis will also have rights of first negotiation for additional targets and TCRs that arise from the collaboration. In addition to the milestones, Novartis will pay T-Scan mid-single to low double-digit royalties on net sales for each product. T-Scan retains the option to develop TCRs against targets not licensed by Novartis.
T-Scan’s technology platform is built on the concept that T-cells residing in tumors have the potential to detect and eliminate cancer cells. Even though they are functionally inactive or impaired, their T-cell receptors (TCRs) can still identify antigens on cancer cells. If the TCRs are isolated and transferred into non-impaired T-cells from the patient’s blood, they can redirect the T-cells to recognize and kill cancer cells.
T-Scan’s lead program TSC-100 is expected to enter clinical development for liquid cancers in 2021.