Medimmune and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Form Cancer Pact

August 10, 2015
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Deal includes rights to Inovio’s INO-3112 HPV cancer vaccine and preclinical collaboration to develop additional cancer vaccine candidates.

MedImmune, the biologics arm of AstraZeneca, has entered into a license agreement and collaboration with biotech company Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in the development of DNA-based immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune will acquire exclusive rights to Inovio’s INO-3112 immunotherapy, which targets cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18. INO-3112 stimulates killer T-cell responses to destroy HPV 16- and 18-driven tumors, which are thought to cause more than 70% of cervical pre-cancers and cancers. INO-3112 is undergoing Phase I/II clinical trials in patients with cervical and head and neck cancers.

There is evidence suggesting that the benefits from immuno-oncology molecules, such as those in MedImmune’s portfolio, can be enhanced when used in combination with cancer vaccines that generate tumor-specific T-cells. MedImmune plans to evaluate INO-3112 in combination with selected immunotherapy molecules within its pipeline in HPV-driven cancers.

All the development costs will be funded by MedImmune. In addition, MedImmune will make an upfront payment of $27.5 million to Inovio. Inovio will also receive potential future payments of up to $700 million when development and commercial milestones are reached and is entitled to receive up to double-digit tiered royalties on INO-3112 product sales.

MedImmune and Inovio have also agreed to collaborate in the development of up to two additional DNA-based cancer vaccine products, not included in Inovio’s current product pipeline, which MedImmune will have the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize. Inovio will receive development, regulatory, and commercialization milestone payments and will be eligible to receive royalties on worldwide net sales for these additional cancer vaccine products.

This agreement builds on the existing partnership between Inovio and MedImmune on two R&D collaborations in the infectious disease area. Both efforts are funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and support R&D focused on Ebola, influenza, and bacterial infections.

Source: AstraZeneca