Novartis has bought the worldwide rights to Legend's CAR-T cell therapy that targets the delta-like ligand protein (DLL3), also known as LB2102. This is a big move that will change the way small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is treated. The deal involves Novartis making an upfront payment of $100 million to Legend, with the potential for additional payments totaling up to $1.01 billion based on clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones, along with tiered royalties.
Legend's unique CAR-T design and innovative armor mechanism make LB2102 a promising candidate for more effective anti-tumor responses. Early research suggests that using an autologous CAR-T approach could be a big help in treating small-cell lung cancer, which is known for being very hard to treat.
Under the collaboration, Legend will lead Phase I studies for LB2102 in the U.S., while Novartis will take charge of all other aspects of development. The partnership extends Novartis' global rights to develop, produce, and sell the CAR-T treatments, potentially leveraging its advanced T-Charge CAR-T cell therapy production technology.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) paved the way for LB2102's clinical trials in November 2022 by granting Investigational New Drug (IND) approval. Further highlighting the therapeutic potential, the FDA granted orphan drug designation to LB2102 earlier this year.
This collaboration is not the first between Legend and Novartis. A previous agreement, which included Janssen, allowed Novartis to produce Carvykti, a CAR-T therapy for multiple myeloma that Legend and Janssen developed. Carvykti, launched after promising 2021 data, received FDA approval in early 2022. Leaked data from April revealed that Carvykti patients had a 74% lower chance of illness progression compared to conventional treatments.
Legend's Chief Scientific Officer, Guowei Fang, expressed excitement about Novartis advancing LB2102, emphasizing the significance of a major oncology and cell therapy pharmaceutical company backing this product in clinical development.
As the deal unfolds, the two companies aim to leverage their expertise in the field, building on their successful collaboration with Carvykti. With Novartis's global reach and cutting-edge technologies, this partnership could speed up the creation of new CAR-T therapies. This would ultimately help the field of oncology and give patients with small cell lung cancer hope. The future looks bright as these pioneering treatments move closer to making a significant impact on cancer care worldwide.