Advaxis Inc., a Princeton biotech developing cancer drugs, has signed a licensing agreement to develop and commercialize its lead drug candidate in Asia and beyond through a Taiwanese company.
Shares of Advaxis rose more 16 percent after the announcement.
Taiwanese biotech Global BioPharma plans to conduct registration trials with ADXS-HPV — Advaxis' lead drug candidate treating human papillomavirus-associated diseases — for treatment of advanced cervical cancer.
GBP's territory covers 4 billion people with more than 300,000 annual diagnoses of cervical cancer, accounting for about 40 percent of the world's cases, according to the World Health Organization.
GBP will also explore other potential treatments of ADXS-HPV, including lung, head, neck and anal cancer.
Advaxis is an early-stage life science company focused on developing immunotherapies that stimulate the body's immune system to fight cancer. GBP chairman George Ko called Advaxis' ADXS-HPV platform "groundbreaking" technology.
"We are looking forward to working with Advaxis which we believe is a company at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy research with the ability to treat patients with few options in countries where treatments are needed most," Ko said in a statement.
GBP will pay Advaxis event-based financial milestones, an annual development fee, and annual net sales royalty payments in the "high single to double digits." As an upfront payment, GPB will also invest in Advaxis by purchasing company stock at market price.
Shares of Advaxis rose 57 cents to $4.16 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.
GBP, funded by investors led by Taiwan Biotech Ltd., one of Taiwan's top five pharmaceutical companies, was formed solely to fight HPV-associated diseases.
"This agreement is the first to be executed as part of Advaxis' global commercialization strategy to enter into regional licensing deals with other market dominant biopharmaceutical companies in territories where there is a high prevalence of HPV-associated cancers," Advaxis CEO Daniel O'Connor said in a statement.
"Funded by one of the largest Taiwanese pharmaceutical companies, this deal further validates Advaxis' proprietary immunotherapy technology," O'Connor said.
GBP will be responsible for all clinical development and commercialization costs in the GBP territory. In collaboration with Advaxis, GPB will also identify and pay the clinical trial costs for up to 150 patients with cervical cancer for enrollment in Advaxis' U.S. and GBP's Asia registration programs for cervical cancer.
Under terms of the agreement, Advaxis will exclusively license the rights to GBP for the Asia, Africa, and part of the former Soviet Union territory, for all HPV-associated indications. Advaxis will retain exclusive rights to ADXS-HPV for the rest of the world.