US-based T cell-based cancer immunotherapies developer Iovance Biotherapeutics and clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm Cellectis have signed a research collaboration and exclusive worldwide license agreement.

Under the strategic collaboration, Iovance will license TALEN technology from Cellectis to develop tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), which have been genetically edited to create more effective therapeutics for cancer.

Iovance Biotherapeutics CEO Maria Fardis said: “We are very excited to be collaborating with Cellectis in applying the TALEN® gene-editing technology to Iovance’s TIL product. We believe that we can genetically modify TIL to make a more tumour-reactive anti-cancer product.

“We plan to move a TALEN-edited TIL therapy into a clinical trial as rapidly as possible.”

According to Iovance, the worldwide exclusive license to use Cellectis’ TALEN technology will enable it to address multiple gene targets to modify TIL for therapeutic use in many cancer indications.

The licence includes development, regulatory and sales milestone payments to Cellectis from Iovance. It will also include royalty payments based on net sales of TALEN technology-based TIL products.

Cellectis chairman and CEO André Choulika said: “We are thrilled to be working with Iovance and believe that applying our TALEN® technology to TIL-based products will yield even better treatments for a variety of cancers.

“Patients remain at the heart of our company and it is our sincere hope that this collaboration can help provide more efficacious options to those in need.”

Based in France, Cellectis is a developer of genome-edited chimeric antigen receptor T-cell technologies for cancer immunotherapy.