Two additional targets added to initial four, with the potential for an additional $500 million in milestone payments.

Blubird Bio initially formed a collaboration with Medigene in 2016 to develop T-cell receptor (TCR)-based immunotherapies for four targets. Recently, the companies announced an extension of this existing alliance, adding two additional targets. 

The two deals combined offer Medigene the potential to receive a total of $1.5 billion in milestone payments, alone. The latest agreement includes a small upfront payment of $8 million, a $1 million early bonus and additional milestone fees up to $250 million per target. “As we continue to build our leadership in immuno-oncology, we value Medigene’s TCR technology platform, which enables us to tackle intracellular tumor antigens not addressable by CAR Ts,” said Philip Gregory, the chief scientific officer at bluebird bio. 

Medigene began its first Phase I/II study with its own candidate MDG1011 in blood cancers earlier in 2018.

Another collaboration in the immuno-oncology space is that between GlaxoSmithKline and Adaptimmune. In September 2017, GSK elected to pick up an exclusive option on Adaptimmune’s NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell therapy program – another TCR technology.