Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:INO) has inked an amended collaboration and licensing deal with ApolloBio for its DNA immunotherapy product designed to treat the pre-cancers caused by human papillomavirus.
The exclusive partnership is limited to China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, but it could also include the Republic of Korea over the next three years, Inovio reported. In connection with the deal, ApolloBio is slated to pay $23 million upfront and as much as $20 million later, based on certain milestones.
According to the terms of the partnership, Inovio is entitled to double-digit tiered royalty payments on sales. Also, ApolloBio has agreed to give up its right to buy stock in Inovio.
The collaboration specifically includes the treatment or prevention of pre-cancerous HPV infections and dysplasias driven by HPV, while leaving out HPV-driven cancers and combinations of Inovio’s immunotherapy, VGX-3100, with other immunostimulants.
“ApolloBio is an excellent partner that brings significant capabilities and expertise relating to product development, the Chinese regulatory landscape, and the healthcare marketplace in China,” Inovio president & CEO, J. Joseph Kim, said in prepared remarks.
“We are pleased to move forward with an agreement that preserves the best interest for our shareholders by obtaining a greater upfront non-dilutive cash license fee of $23 million and removing the equity provisions. In addition, this collaborative agreement with ApolloBio could potentially accelerate our overall global VGX-3100 efforts by accessing clinical study patients in China. We expect this deal to close in the first quarter of 2018.”
“This license and collaboration agreement marks our determination to introduce late stage innovative new drugs to meet severely unmet medical needs within the Greater China region,” ApolloBio CEO, Weiping Yang, added. “We are excited at the potential for VGX-3100 to address multiple indications within HPV-associated pre-cancer and we very pleased to be launching this strategic collaboration with Inovio, an innovative global biotechnology partner.”
Inovio’s plasmid DNA immunotherapy is injected intramuscularly, followed by electroporation using the company’s Cellectra delivery device. Cellectra uses a pulse of electricity to briefly open the pores in a cell’s membrane and introduce the DNA.