Agenus inks Oncophage cancer vaccine deal with Russian company

Cancer vaccine developer Agenus has inked a licensing, development and manufacturing technology transfer agreement with Russian drug company NewVac. Under the deal, NewVac gets to manufacture, market and sell Agenus' renal cell carcinoma vaccine Oncophage in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States countries. Additionally, NewVac gets to explore a program combining Oncophage with the company's own co-adjuvant technology. Agenus will receive a transfer price and could also be eligible for royalties and milestone payments.

Formerly known as Antigenics, Agenus was handed rejections from both U.S. and EU regulators after late-stage studies of Oncophage proved unsuccessful. Only Russian regulators were willing to approve the drug. Though Agenus CEO Garo Armen criticized the FDA for being "too rigid" to approve the cancer therapy, analysts at the time blamed the company's lackluster Phase III data for the agency's rejection.

"We are very excited to work with NewVac as an innovative scientific partner that is ready to both establish an Oncophage manufacturing facility in Russia and to commercialize this unique personalized cancer vaccine. In addition, the planned development efforts for Oncophage in combination with NewVac's co-adjuvant will provide us with an opportunity to explore how Oncophage can contribute even more to patient care," said Armen in a statement. "This agreement brings us a step closer to making this product available to patients and driving further innovation in the cancer immunotherapy field."

- here's the release from Agenus
- take a look at the Mass High Tech article