Amgen and Advaxis Partner to Develop Immunotherapy Targeting Unique Mutations in a Cancer

Amgen and Advaxis Partner to Develop Immunotherapy Targeting Unique Mutations in a Cancer

Amgen and Advaxis have announced a global agreement to develop and commercialize Advaxis’ Adxs-Neo — a potential cancer immunotherapy designed to activate immune system responses against the unique mutations in each patient’s tumor. The therapy is now in preclinical development.

The partnership leverages Amgen’s expertise in immuno-oncology and Advaxis’ MINE (My Immunotherapy Neo-Epitopes) program. The objective is to develop a unique, tailored approach to cancer treatment.

Adxs-Neo will make use of the MINE platform, designed to activate a patient’s immune system to respond against unique mutations – or neoepitopes – present in each patient’s tumor. Every tumor cell presents antigens on its surface, much like small tags, that allows the immune system to recognize it. The MINE platform can target and sequence the DNA of these epitopes and find specific mutations that allow for a personalized immune therapy tailored for each patient tumor.

The two partners will use insights from MINE to identify and target neoepitopes using Lm (Listeria monocytogenes) Technology, a bioengineering product that relies on live attenuated bacteria to produce and deliver the specific tumor antigen into patients’ immune cells, which are then expected to generate strong anti-tumor immune responses.

Amgen will receive exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Adxs-Neo, and make an upfront payment to Advaxis of $40 million and purchase $25 million of Advaxis common stock.  Amgen will be responsible for funding clinical and commercial activities, and Advaxis will lead the clinical development of Adxs-Neo through proof-of-concept studies. Advaxis will also receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $475 million.

“Amgen is a pioneer in the science of using living cells to develop biologic medicines, making them an incredibly strong partner to develop and commercialize Advaxis’ MINE,” Daniel J. O’Connor, Advaxis’ president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “With Amgen’s resources, worldwide reach and a culture that embraces science and innovation, we are positioned to accelerate the clinical development program for ADXS-NEO to improve the lives of those who suffer from cancer.”