China part of Opdivo combo trial plans as Nasdaq-listed CBMG buys cancer vaccine

Moffitt Cancer Center's Scott Antonia

Nasdaq-listed Cellular Biomedicine Group ($CBMG) has clinical trial plans that include China for cancer vaccine CD40LGVAX bought from Blackbird Bio Finance.

The company paid $2.5 million in cash and $1.8 million in stock, with possible milestone payments of over $25 million, according to a press release.

The vaccine was developed by University of South Florida College of Medicine professor Scott Antonia, chair of the thoracic oncology and program leader of immuno-oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center.

He will use the candidate to run a Phase II study combined with Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) Opdivo (nivolumab) this year to treat unresectable stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.

CBMG also plans to run clinical studies in China to treat lung cancer, and has rights in the Mainland and Greater China as well as worldwide, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

Opdivo was approved by the U.S. FDA for patients with advanced metastatic squamous non-small lung cancer.

CBMG straddles the growing world of biotech collaboration in China and the U.S. with offices in Palo Alto and Shanghai, one of several firms that travel between U.S. research hubs and China with a common link to oncology.

The company has been the target of short-selling with a website called the Pump Stopper questioning its valuation and research efforts on CAR-T. The company responded to Pump Stopper on April 7, saying the claims it is advancing are a "short agenda" for personal gain and are false.

- here's the CBMG release