Advaxis nets $23M in financing for cancer vaccine development

Advaxis ($ADXS) is pushing full steam ahead to test its cancer vaccine candidates in immunotherapy combos, and it just scored another $23 million to help its hopefuls through the clinic.

The New Jersey biotech has inked securities purchase agreements with a handful of institutional investors, it said Wednesday, offering up about 3.1 million shares at $7.50 apiece. Adage Capital Management, Broadfin Capital, Sectoral Asset Management, Cormorant Asset Management and certain funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates were among those that participated in the financing.

Advaxis has been active lately when it comes to partnering up. Since last summer, it's inked pacts with AstraZeneca ($AZN) and, more recently, Delaware's Incyte ($INCY) to test its lead cancer vaccine prospect, ADXS-HPV, in immunotherapy pairs. It also struck an agreement last year to team up with Merck ($MRK) to evaluate its ADXS-PSA alongside the pharma giant's checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda in prostate cancer.

Advaxis isn't the only company eager to test its cancer vaccines alongside other immunotherapies. In the wake of large-scale monotherapy failures from companies like GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Merck KGaA, more and more vaccinemakers are looking to leverage checkpoint inhibitors' complementary approach. Amgen ($AMGN), for one, is trialing its oncolytic immunotherapy talimogene laherparepvec--T-Vec for short--in tandem with Keytruda, it said last December.

- read Advaxis' release

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