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August 11, 2015

Licensing deal for PA lab's cancer vaccine worth up to $700M

MedImmune buys rights to immunotherapy being developed by Inovio

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a Plymouth Meeting-based company that is developing a vaccine to treat cancers caused by HPV, has entered into a licensing deal with MedImmune that could be worth up to $700 million.

The Montgomery County company announced on Monday that MedImmune, a research arm of AstraZeneca based in Maryland, will acquire exclusive rights to INO-3112, a DNA-based immunotherapy currently under development.

The vaccine, which would be used to treat rather than to prevent cancer, stimulates the immune system to send out tumor-destroying T-cells. It targets two strains of HPV (human papillomavirus) that together are responsible for over 70 percent of cervical cancers and pre-cancers.

MedImmune paid $27.5 million upfront and Inovio could receive future payments of up to $700 million plus royalties, depending on the success of the drug trials. MedImmune will also pay for all future development costs.

The acquiring company wants to study how INO-3112 works in combination with other immunotherapies in MedImmune’s portfolio, based on evidence that tumor-targeting cancer vaccines may be able to enhance the power of those treatments.

In addition, the companies will collaborate on two more DNA-based cancer vaccines. 

Inovio's stock price went up 24 percent on Monday after the news was announced, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.