Shares of Bluebird Bio BLUE gained in morning trading Monday after the company announced a new partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals REGN . The five-year agreement will see both firms collaborate on new cell therapies for the treatment of cancer.
Regeneron will also invest $100 million in Bluebird shares as a part of the deal. That investment values BLUE at $238.10 per share, according to Monday's joint announcement.
Bluebird and Regeneron will focus their collaboration on six initial targets for certain cell therapies, although new targets may also be selected in the future. The companies will split R&D costs until a new drug application is filed, and the premium Regeneron paid for Bluebird shares will count towards its obligation.
"With Regeneron's proven targeting technologies, in combination with our deep expertise in cell biology and vector technology, as well as clinical experience with leading CAR T cell drug products, we hope to rapidly advance novel cellular therapies with the potential to transform the lives of people with cancer," said Bluebird Bio CEO Philip Gregory, D. Phil.
Bluebird investors will hope the deal can energize the stock, which has struggled to generate much positive momentum this year. Shares were down nearly 16% in 2018 heading into the week.
Nevertheless, Bluebird remains an innovative force within the gene therapy space. It has a number of product candidates focused on treating severe genetic diseases and cancer. The firm is probably best known for its bb2121 and bb21217 candidates for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
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