SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Roche and Inovio partner in the fight against prostate cancer and hepatitis B

Roche and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced on Tuesday that the companies entered into a global license agreement to conduct research, develop and market Inovio's immunotherapies for prostate cancer and hepatitis B.

Roche obtained an exclusive license for Inovio's DNA-based vaccines INO-5150, for the treatment of prostate cancer, and INO-1800, for the treatment of hepatitis B. The license also gives Roche access to Inovio's CELLECTRA electroporation technology to administer vaccines. The companies will collaborate on a research program in oncology and to further develop INO-5150 and INO-1800.

Roche will make a payment of $10 million to Inovio up front. Roche will also handle preclinical research and development support and funding for developmental milestones; the license has a potential to be worth up to $412.5 million. Inovio is able to receive up to double-digit tiered income on sales of its products.

"This partnership represents an important milestone in Inovio's growth and maturing product portfolio," Inovio President and CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim said. "Roche brings to our immunotherapy candidates its leadership position and track record for developing and marketing innovative first-in-class therapies. Collaborating with the world's preeminent oncology development partner allows us to rapidly advance two of our promising near-clinical stage immunotherapy products from our product pipeline as we continue development of our phase II lead product, VGX-3100, for treatment of HPV-related cancers and dysplasia."

Representatives from both organizations expressed excitement for the partnership and its potential to develop new treatments against cancer and hepatitis B.

"We are very excited to have this potentially very important and novel mechanism of action as part of our portfolio as we seek to address the significant unmet medical need in chronic hepatitis B infection," Roche Head of Infectious Disease Discovery & Translational Area Janet Hammond said.