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Bayer (BAYRY) Inks Deal With Atara for CAR-T Cell Therapies

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Bayer AG ((BAYRY - Free Report) ) and Atara Biotherapeutics ((ATRA - Free Report) ) have inked an exclusive worldwide license agreement for next-generation, mesothelin-directed CAR-T cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumors.in order to expand its oncology pipeline. The agreement includes the pipeline candidate ATA3271, a next generation allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy, and an autologous version — ATA2271 — for the treatment of high mesothelin-expressing tumors such as malignant pleural mesothelioma, as well as non-small-cell lung cancer.

Shares of the company have decreased 26% year to date against the industry’s 6.6% growth.

 

The deal is part of Bayer's new strategy to speed up and support cell and gene therapy development. With this deal, Bayer plans to enter CAR-T cell therapy space and expand its oncology development pipeline with groundbreaking technology. Atara is an industry leader in allogeneic cell manufacturing processes and next-generation CAR-T technologies. The licensed technology will leverage Atara’s proprietary Epstein-Barr Virus T-cell platform combined with next generation CAR-T technologies targeting mesothelin to improve efficacy, persistence, safety and durability of response.

Per the agreement, Atara will lead investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies and process development for ATA3271 while Bayer will be responsible for submitting the IND, and subsequent clinical development as well as commercialization. Atara will continue to be responsible for the ongoing ATA2271 phase I study, for which an IND filing has been accepted and a clinical trial has been initiated.

Atara will receive an upfront payment of $60 million and be eligible to receive up to $610 million upon achievement of certain milestones, as well as tiered royalties up to low double-digit percentage of net sales.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Bayer currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Aerpio Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (ARPO - Free Report) and Aptose Biosciences Inc. (APTO - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Aerpio’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from 15 cents to 14 cents for 2020 and from 63 cents to 57 cents for 2021 over the past 60 days.

Aptose’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from 77 cents to 69 cents for 2020 and from 85 cents to 81 cents for 2021 over the past 60 days.

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