Gilead Sciences has inked a collaboration, option and license deal with Gritstone Oncology to create a vaccine-based immunotherapy as a cure for HIV.
The partnership will leverage Gritstone’s proprietary prime-boost vaccine platform. This is made up of self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) and adenoviral vectors using antigens developed by Gilead.
Under the terms of the deal, Gilead is paying Gritstone $30 million in cash up front and a $30 million equity investment. Gilead will handle a Phase I trial for the HIV-specific vaccine and will hold an exclusive option for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize it beyond Phase I. Gritstone will be up for an additional $725 million in regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as mid-single-digit to low double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.
Brainard added, “Gritstone’s vaccine technology has the potential to educate the immune system to specifically recognize and destroy HIV-infected cells by leveraging SAM and adenoviral vectors. This, along with our other partnerships and internal programs, reflects Gilead’s commitment to continuing innovation to discover a cure for HIV and bring about an end to the HIV epidemic.”
“The resulting strong, durable and broad anti-SIV CD8+ T cell responses and T cell data captured the attention of Gilead’s virology team. We jointly performed further experiments that generated additional compelling data, which was also complemented by our exciting clinical data with neoantigens in cancer patients,” said Karin Jooss, Gritstone’s executive vice president of Research and chief scientific officer. “We are delighted to now advance our partnership and product candidates for the treatment of patients with HIV infection.”
On January 20, Gritstone entered into licensing deal with Genevant Sciences to Genevant’s lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology to develop SAM vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Genevant’s LNP platform is already clinically validated and part of Gritstone’s SAM neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy that is currently in Phase II studies.