AstraZeneca forks out $245m to bolster gene therapy pipeline

AstraZeneca has announced an investment worth $245 million in French biotechnology company Cellectis with an aim to develop CGT products.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

November 3, 2023

2 Min Read
AstraZeneca forks out $245m to bolster gene therapy pipeline

AstraZeneca has announced an investment worth $245 million in French biotechnology company Cellectis with an aim to develop cell and gene therapy (CGT) products.  

As per the agreement, the firm will use Cellectis’ gene editing technologies and manufacturing capabilities to design CGT products. The aim of this collaboration is to strengthen AstraZeneca’s growing offering in this space and meet the unmet needs in oncology, immunology and rare diseases.  

Under the terms of the deal, 25 genetic targets have been exclusively reserved for AstraZeneca, of which up to 10 candidate products could be explored for development. 


c/o AstraZeneca

“The differentiated capabilities Cellectis has in gene editing and manufacturing complement our in-house expertise and investments made in the past year. AstraZeneca continues to advance our ambition in cell therapy for oncology and autoimmune diseases as well as in genomic medicine, which has potential to be transformative for patients with rare diseases,” said Marc Dunoyer, CSO for AstraZeneca. 

Cellectis is expected to receive an initial payment of $105 million from AstraZeneca in the fourth quarter of 2023, which will consist of $25 million in cash and the rest in equity. A further of $140 million equity investment will take place in early 2024, giving AstraZeneca about 44% stake in the French company.  

AstraZeneca retains worldwide exclusive license for the candidate products developed under the deal, to be exercised before investigational new drug (IND) filing. 

In addition to this, the French clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company will receive an IND option fee and development, regulatory and sales-related milestone payments, ranging from $70 million up to $220 million, per each of the 10 candidate products, plus tiered royalties. 

“We believe AstraZeneca is the perfect match to Cellectis by providing world-class expertise in the development and the commercialization of innovative medicines. This collaboration will allow us to leverage our pioneering research in gene editing and cell therapies, as well as our cutting-edge capabilities in manufacturing with the ambition to bring potentially life-saving therapies to patients with unmet medical need,” said André Choulika, CEO for Cellectis. 

Building on AstraZeneca’s own expertise in CGT, the company has enhanced its capabilities through several collaborations and investments in the past year including Pfizer, Revvity, and Neogene as part of its ambition to bring cell therapies to more patients living with cancer and to advance genomic medicines for rare diseases. 

AstraZeneca did not respond when contacted by this publication. 

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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