Aduro BioTech has gained access to BioSante Pharmaceuticals' GVAX pancreas cancer vaccine and GVAX prostate cancer vaccine through a licensing agreement. The Berkeley, CA-based company plans to utilize the vaccines with its own CRS-207, a Listeria monocytogenes-derived therapeutic that has completed a successful Phase I trial, to create a pancreatic cancer therapeutic vaccine.
"The synergy from the sequential administration of GVAX Pancreas and CRS-207 has the potential to significantly extend and improve the lives of a patient population where progress has historically been measured by extra weeks of survival," said Stephen Isaacs, chairman and CEO of Aduro BioTech, in a release.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the press release mentioned all payments to BioSante would come from royalties and milestones after commercialization of any product.
Although the lack of upfront payments could mean BioSante will receive a larger percentage in royalty payments, Motley Fool's Brian Orelli worries that the deal puts BioSante at a distinct disadvantage. "Granted, the cancer vaccine program isn't BioSante's lead product...But the cancer vaccine has been pumped as the next Dendreon's Provenge," Orelli writes. "Licensing it to a company whose claim to fame is that it has been issued $20 million in grants and contracts doesn't exactly lend credence to the program."
During its tenure under Cell Genesys--which BioSante purchased in 2009--a GVAX late-stage study in 2008 was halted because patients were dying at a faster rate than those receiving chemo treatment only.
Aduro is planning a 90-patient Phase II study of GVAX and CRS-207 starting in the fourth quarter of 2011.