AstraZeneca boosts cancer portfolio with $320 mln Neogene deal

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca will acquire biotechnology company Neogene Therapeutics for up to $320 million, the London-listed drugmaker said on Tuesday
(November 29) as it seeks to build its pipeline of cell-based cancer treatments.

Though AstraZeneca’s oncology portfolio accounted for more than a third of the company’s revenue last year, it does not have an approved cell-based cancer therapy
and is behind rivals such as Novartis and Gilead.

“Neogene’s leading (T-cell receptor) discovery capabilities and extensive manufacturing experience complement the cell therapy capability we have built over the
last three years,” said Susan Galbraith, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of oncology research.

Cell-based treatments are a relatively new approach to treating cancer, most of which involve drawing the body’s own immune cells and processing them in the lab to
target and kill cancer cells.

Neogene‘s approach goes one step further in that its experimental T-cell receptor therapies seek to target DNA mutations specific to tumours, not only certain
proteins on the surface of cancer cells.