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Amgen enters into $540m immunotherapy collaboration

Acquires global rights to Advaxis’ preclinical oncology candidate ADXS-NEO
Amgen

Amgen has bought into a preclinical cancer immunotherapy treatment developed by small US biotech Advaxis, in a deal potentially worth $540m.

For an upfront sum of $40m and $25m in Advaxis shares, the pharma giant receives exclusive global rights to develop and commercialise ADXS-NEO.

Advaxis will continue to lead the candidate's clinical development and manufacturing - with clinical trials due to begin in 2017 - and can expect to receive up to $475m in milestone payments.

The investigational treatment is designed to activate a patient's immune system to respond against the unique mutations - or neoepitopes - present in each individual's tumour.

ADXS-NEO is part of Advaxis' My Immunotherapy Neo-Epitopes (MINE) programme, and the collaboration with Amgen will mark the first time MINE is used in conjunction with Advaxis' patented bioengineered Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) technology to create a tailored cancer treatment.

Daniel O'Connor, president and chief executive at Advaxis, said: “Amgen is a pioneer in the science of using living cells to develop biologic medicines, making them an incredibly strong partner to develop and commercialise Advaxis' MINE.

“With Amgen's resources, worldwide reach and a culture that embraces science and innovation, we are positioned to accelerate the clinical development programme for ADXS-NEO to improve the lives of those who suffer from cancer.”

Advaxis has long focused on the development of immuno-oncology therapies, and this partnership with Amgen is not the biotech's first outing. It's collaboration with AstraZeneca's MedImmune on HPV cervical cancer and head and neck cancer therapy axalimogene fillisbac has borne fruit, with the study completing its first stage in March this year.

Similarly, Advaxis has teamed up with Merck & Co (known as MSD outside the US) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Merck's PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in combination with the biotech's ADXS-PSA for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

5th August 2016

From: Research

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