AstraZeneca and Quell Therapeutics Strike Cell Therapy Development Deal

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The deal, valued at more than $2 billion dollars, will see Quell Therapeutics develop various T-regulatory cell therapies for AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca announced an exclusive option and license agreement with Quell Therapeutics, a UK-based biotechnology company, on June 9th, 2023. Per the terms of the agreement, Quell will develop T-regulatory (Treg) cell therapies for Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and inflammatory bowel disease. According to a company press release, AstraZeneca will pay Quell $85 million upfront for the rights to these treatments, but Quell’s total payout could come to more than $2 billion plus tiered royalties if various development and commercialization milestones are met.

“We are extremely pleased to have AstraZeneca on board as our first major partner,” said Iain McGill, CEO, Quell Therapeutics, in the release. “This collaboration builds on our pioneering work to develop exquisitely engineered, multi-modular Treg cell therapies for immune disorders and provides excellent validation for the technologies and capabilities we have established. We are proud and incredibly excited to partner our leading science with the deep experience of AstraZeneca to accelerate the application of our Treg cell therapy platform in major autoimmune disease, where we believe there is a broad opportunity to reset immune tolerance and drive durable responses for patients.”

“This is a very exciting collaboration with Quell as we look to expand our next-generation therapeutic toolbox and explore the untapped potential with Treg cell therapies in autoimmune indications,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, in the release. “This is aligned with our strategy to target underlying disease drivers to stop or slow disease progression and ultimately accelerate the delivery of transformative care to patients with chronic autoimmune conditions.”


In addition to the previously disclosed terms, Quell retains an option to co-develop Treg cell therapies from the T1D program with AstraZeneca in the United States in exchange for additional milestone payments and increased royalties on US net sales. This can be exercised either after approval of an Investigational New Drug application or at the end of the Phase I/II clinical study.

Source: AstraZeneca