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Why Lineage Cell Therapeutics Zoomed Higher Today

By Eric Volkman – Dec 20, 2021 at 1:03PM

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The biotech stands to reap hundreds of millions of dollars from a new collaboration with a top pharmaceutical player.

What happened

Clinical-stage biotech Lineage Cell Therapeutics (LCTX 4.29%) was a bright spot during a dark session for the overall stock market. The company's shares rocketed upward by more than 21% on Monday on news of a collaboration agreement with a large and deep-pocketed partner.

So what

On Monday morning, Lineage disclosed that it and its Cell Cure Neurosciences subsidiary had signed a global collaboration and licensing deal with two units of Swiss healthcare powerhouse Roche Holding (RHHBY 1.00%).

A medical professional using a microscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

The deal covers the development and potential commercialization of its retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell therapy for the treatment of certain eye disorders. Such maladies include advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) with geographic atrophy (GA).

Specifically, Roche's Genentech subsidiary is to manage the continued clinical development and commercialization of OpRegen, which utilizes RPE to treat afflictions like dry AMD. OpRegen is Lineage's leading -- and most promising -- pipeline program. It's currently undergoing testing in a phase 1/2a clinical trial.

Lineage is to receive a $50 million upfront payment from Genentech. The biotech will also be eligible for up to $620 million in additional payouts if certain development, regulatory, and business milestones are met. It did not provide any detail about those milestones. Finally, Lineage will also be eligible for tiered, double-digit-percentage royalties on sales of the treatment.

Now what

For Lineage, this Roche deal is a juicy opportunity to not only bring OpRegen to market, but to advance its wider mission.

"Lineage's objective is to pioneer a new branch of regenerative medicine, based on transplanting whole cells into the body to restore activity lost to aging, injury or disease," CEO Brian Culley said in the press release announcing the deal. "We believe the results we have demonstrated to date with OpRegen represent a paradigm change many did not believe possible with cell therapy, by restoring retinal tissue and potentially halting or reversing the expansion of geographic atrophy."

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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