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Three faculty inventions out-licensed by OTT highlight TJU's commercial development successes.
Brain Cancer Vaccine
In 2003, BioAdvance awarded its first round of seed investment grants to seven start-up companies. One of the recipients was Spliceomix, Inc., a fledgling company founded one year earlier by TJU faculty member/inventor, Dr. Albert Wong, to further develop a cancer therapeutic vaccine technology with strong, supporting animal model data. Spliceomix had licensed the technology from TJU. The company also received funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2003.
Spliceomix was renamed Alteris Therapeutics, Inc., and, in May 2005, Celldex Therapeutics, Inc., a spin-out of Princeton-based biotech Medarex, Inc., entered into an agreement with Alteris to purchase substantially all of its assets.
In October 2007, Celldex and publicly-traded Avant Immunotherapeutics, Inc., of Needham, MA, announced a merger, which completed in March 2008, under which the combined company retained the Celldex name.
In April 2008, Pfizer sub-licensed the experimental cancer therapeutic vaccine from Avant, and TheStreet.com reported that Pfizer “will pay Avant $40 million in cash upfront and make a $10 million equity investment in the micro-cap biotech company in exchange for worldwide rights to CDX-110, a therapeutic vaccine that targets a defective protein thought to promote the growth of cancer cells… In addition to the combined $50 million upfront payment totaling $390 million tied to the successful investment, Avant is eligible to receive milestone development and approval of CDX-110. Pfizer is taking over all development costs for CDX-110 and will pay double-digit royalties to Avant on the sales of the drug, if the drug’s approved.”
Following a highly successful Phase II clinical trial of CDX-110 in the treatment of Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) with EGFRvIII Expression, Celldex has raised $30M and finalized its protocol with the FDA for a Phase III clinical trial, which began in enrolling patients in 2012.
TJU received and expects to receive very significant financial compensation from the licensed technology and continued achievement of further development milestones.
Rabies Therapeutic Antibody
Crucell N.V., a Netherlands-based biopharma with a proprietary cell line for large-scale manufacturing of recombinant proteins and antibodies, licensed TJU’s rabies antibody technology, developed by faculty members Drs Bernard Dietzschold and D. Craig Hooper, in April 2003. The company also sponsored research in Dr. Dietzschold’s laboratory to develop the technology. A two-antibody cocktail containing the licensed antibody was tested in multiple Phase I studies in late 2006 and the beginning of 2007, with promising results.
In January 2008, Crucell announced that it had signed an exclusive agreement with sanofi pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis Group, for the rabies monoclonal antibodies for post-exposure prophylaxis. According to Crucell’s press release, “ under the terms of the agreement, Crucell will continue to perform the development activities. Crucell will be responsible for the manufacturing of the final product and will retain exclusive distribution rights in Europe, co-exclusive distribution rights in China, and the rights to sell to supranational organizations such as UNICEF. Crucell will receive a payment of € 10 million following the execution of the agreement and will be eligible for milestone payments of up to € 66.5 million.” The company also announced that the rabies monoclonal antibody cocktail entered a Phase II clinical trial in the US in March 2008 and abroad in May 2008.
In early 2011, Johnson & Johnson acquired Crucell, which would “operate as the center for vaccines within the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals group.”
With the continued development of the rabies antibody, TJU has received and expects to receive sizeable sub-license revenue from this deal.
Targeted Oncolytic Virotherapy
In August 2007, Jennerex Biotherapeutics, Inc., licensed key recombinant vaccinia virus patent rights from TJU for its targeted oncolytic virotherapy platform. The licensed technology was developed by Jefferson faculty members Drs Michael Mastrangelo, Edmund Lattime, David Berd, and Laurence Eisenlohr. The inventors had published a number of articles on a successful Phase I clinical trial for the treatment of malignant melanoma using the technology.
In 2010, Jennerex sublicensed exclusive rights to develop and commercialize JX-594 in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa to Transgene, a biopharma company specialized in the development of immunotherapeutic products. According to Jennerex’s press release, “Jennerex is further eligible to earn a total of up to $116 million in development and registration milestones as well as double digits royalties on a tiered structure. In addition, Jennerex has an option for co-promotion and profit-sharing in the five major European countries.”
TJU has received and anticipates the further receipt of substantial license-related income from the company’s continuing development of the technology.
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