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AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences Announce Collaboration and License Agreement for CAR-T Cell Products

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Allogeneic, “off-the-shelf” CAR-T cell therapies have shown early promise in some cancer patients, but the need for overcoming the rejection of allogeneic CAR-T cells by the host immune system remains a key challenge to their broader development. Employing Caribou’s CRISPR genome editing platform to engineer CAR-T cells to withstand host immune attack would enable the development of the next-generation of “off-the-shelf” cellular therapies to benefit a broader patient population.

Under the multi-year agreement, AbbVie will utilize Caribou’s next-generation Cas12a CRISPR hybrid RNA-DNA (chRDNA) genome editing and cell therapy technologies to research and develop two new CAR-T cell therapies directed to targets specified by AbbVie. AbbVie will have exclusive rights to Caribou’s next-generation Cas12a chRDNA genome editing and cell therapy technologies for the selected targets.

Caribou will conduct certain pre-clinical research, development, and manufacturing activities for the collaboration programs, and AbbVie will reimburse Caribou for all such activities pursuant to the collaboration. AbbVie is responsible for all clinical development, commercialization, and manufacturing efforts. AbbVie has the option to pay a fee to expand the collaboration to include up to an additional two CAR-T cell therapies. Caribou will receive $40 million in an upfront cash payment and equity investment, along with up to $300 million in future development, regulatory, and launch milestones.

In addition, Caribou may also receive additional payments for commercial milestones as well as global tiered royalties.

“We are excited to partner with AbbVie on the development of new CAR-T cell therapies. This collaboration validates Caribou’s differentiated next-generation CRISPR genome editing technologies that provide best-in-class efficiency and specificity,” said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Caribou. “We believe AbbVie is an ideal partner for Caribou as we expand upon the number of targets and diseases addressable by our technologies. Genome-edited CAR-T cell therapies hold tremendous potential for patients, and this partnership accelerates our ability to address significant unmet medical need.”

“CAR-T therapies have shown to be a promising breakthrough in cancer treatment,” said Steve Davidsen, Ph.D., Vice President, Oncology Discovery, AbbVie. “Collaborating with Caribou and their cutting-edge CRISPR platform will help AbbVie advance our efforts to deliver new hope for patients.”

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