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Lucy Chard
29 Nov 2022

AstraZeneca acquires Neogene in shift into cell-based cancer therapies

AstraZeneca has recently announced that it will be acquiring the biotechnology company Neogene Therapeutics as part of it’s expansion into cell-based cancer treatments.

The $320 million deal will launch AstraZeneca, already a leader in oncology, into the cell-based treatment sector of the field.

Currently, the company does not have an approved cell-based cancer therapy, despite over a third of the company’s revenue from 2021 coming from their oncology platform.

AstraZeneca are hoping this acquisition will help to broaden their capabilities and bring them into a better position compared to competitors such as Novartis and Gilead.

"Neogene's leading (T-cell receptor) discovery capabilities and extensive manufacturing experience complement the cell therapy capability we have built over the last three years and allow us to accelerate the development of potentially curative cell therapies for the benefit of patients," explained Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President of oncology research at AstraZeneca.

In terms of available cancer treatments, cell-based therapy is still relatively novel. It involves taking the body’s own immune cells, and reconfiguring them externally to target surface proteins of cancer cells.

Neogene developed a therapeutic approach using T-cell receptors that target DNA mutations that are tumour specific, rather than just the surface proteins of cancer cells.

"Our expertise, clinical portfolio, and platform technologies in this area combined with AstraZeneca's leadership in oncology and global footprint mean we are well-positioned to translate pioneering science into novel treatments for hard-to-treat cancers," stated Neogene Chief Executive, Carsten Linnemann.

AstraZeneca are set to pay $200 million to Neogene upfront, then the remaining $120 million dependent on whether key targets are met by the company. The deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023. 

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