Atara Biotherapeutics and French pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre announced a commercialization partnership for Tab-cel, Atara’s off-the-shelf immunotherapy treatment for Epstein-Barr virus. The partnership will cover sales in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and other emerging markets.


Epstein-Barr virus is a member of the herpes virus family that affects a person’s blood and bone marrow. 


The terms of the agreement will see Atara receive a $45 million upfront payment and up to approximately $320 million in further regulatory and sales milestones payments. Double-digit tiered royalties will also be given to Atara as a percentage of net sales. 


Atara, which is headquartered in South San Francisco but has two locations in Thousand Oaks, will retain full rights to Tab-cel in other major markets such as North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. 

All commercialization and distribution activities will be led by Pierre Fabre, including medical and regulatory activities after Atara submits Tab-cel’s EU Marketing Authorization Application in November. Manufacturing services for Tab-cel will be paid for by Pierre Fabre, which is headquartered in Castres, France.

“Our companies’ complementary capabilities will expand access to Tab-cel, a potentially transformative investigational allogeneic off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapy, to patients worldwide who suffer from EBV+ (post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease) and other EBV-driven cancers,” Pascal Touchon, Atara’s president and chief executive, wrote in a statement. 


Shares of Atara (ATRA) closed up $1.05, or 6.2 percent, to $17.98 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday, a day when that exchange closed down a fraction of a percent.