Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire 2seventy bio’s preclinical and clinical stage cancer cell therapy pipeline and will establish the Regeneron Cell Medicines division.

Under the agreement, Regeneron will buy full development and commercialisation rights of 2seventy’s pipeline of investigational immune cell therapies for an upfront payment of $5m.

The deal also includes 2seventy bio’s discovery and clinical manufacturing capabilities along with infrastructure and personnel costs related to ongoing programmes.

Regeneron Cell Medicines is a research and development (R&D) unit focused on advancing cell therapies and combination methods in oncology and immunology. The firm will also explore combinations with Regeneron’s proprietary antibodies and bispecifics.

Upon closing of the deal, 150 employees from 2seventy bio who were working with the acquired programmes will join Regeneron Cell Medicines to continue their work.

Regeneron co-founder, president and chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos said: “Regeneron and 2seventy share a relentless commitment to pushing the boundaries of science in pursuit of therapies that can improve people’s lives.

“Our expertise in antibody technologies and emerging genetics capabilities, combined with 2seventy’s cell therapy platforms, presents a significant opportunity to address cancer and other serious diseases in new and impactful ways.”

A partnership was formed in 2018 between Regeneron and bluebird bio, which spun out 2seventy bio in 2021, to combine their complimentary technologies in the search for new cancer cell therapies.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Regeneron will also make a single milestone payment to the cancer drug maker for the first major market approval of the first approved product.

Additionally, Regeneron will pay 2seventy bio a low single-digit percent royalty on revenues generated by the products.

The deal is anticipated to close in the first half of 2024, subject to certain closing conditions.

With this asset purchase agreement, 2seventy bio also announced its plans to focus on commercialising and developing Abecma, a CAR T therapy for multiple myeloma.

The company will work with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) to return Abecma to commercial growth in 2024.