) recently announced that it entered into a license agreement
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) whereby both companies will collaborate to commercialize
Inovio's multi-antigen DNA immunotherapies for the treatment of
prostate cancer and hepatitis B.
The agreement provides Roche license to Inovio's DNA-based
prostate cancer vaccine INO-5150 and hepatitis B vaccine
INO-1800. Additionally, the license allows Roche to use Inovio's
CELLECTRA electroporation technology for delivery of the
vaccines. Moreover, Roche obtained an option to license
additional vaccine opportunities in the field of oncology.
As per the terms of the deal, Roche will make an upfront
payment of $10 million to Inovio followed by milestone payments
of $412.5 million. The agreement also allows additional
development milestone payments to be paid to Inovio if Roche
develops the vaccines for other indications. Inovio is entitled
to royalties on product sales.
The preclinical data on both the vaccines was encouraging.
Meanwhile, we are encouraged by the Roche's efforts to boost
its already strong oncology portfolio. Earlier this month, Roche
announced that a subcutaneous formulation of its oncology drug,
Herceptin, was approved in Europe for treating patients suffering
from HER2+ breast cancer.
We note that Roche has a solid position in the breast cancer
market. Apart from Herceptin, Roche has drugs like Perjeta and
Kadcyla in its kitty for the treatment of patients suffering from
HER2+ breast cancer.
The EU approval of the subcutaneous formulation of Herceptin
should further strengthen the breast cancer franchise at Roche
which generated sales of CHF 3.3 billion in the first half of
2013, up 11% year over year.
Roche currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now,
) look attractive with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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