Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.INO has provided a clinical strategy update for initiating human studies on its human papillomavirus (HPV) immunotherapy, INO-3112, in combination with select immunotherapy molecules from MedImmune, the global biologics research & development arm of AstraZeneca plc AZN .
The companies reported that they intend to advance combination immunotherapies in populations with continued unmet need, potential for a registrable endpoint and an expedient clinical path. The combination study in humans is expected to be initiated later this year.
We remind investors that in Aug 2015, Inovio had entered into a strategic cancer vaccine collaboration and license agreement with MedImmune. Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune acquired the exclusive rights to INO-3112, and paid an upfront payment of $27.5 million to Inovio. In addition, MedImmune agreed to fund development costs and make milestone payments totaling $700 million related to the development and commercialization of the candidate. Moreover, Inovio will be eligible to receive up to double-digit tiered royalties on future sales of INO-3112.
Meanwhile, the company said that it will not continue with the planned enrollment in the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) study, which would have evaluated INO-3112 in patients with cervical cancer before and after chemoradiation in an adjuvant setting.
We note that INO-3112 is currently being evaluated in two phase I/II studies for the treatment of cervical cancer, and head and neck cancers. Data from the study in head and neck cancers are expected this year.
Inovio currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AMAG and Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. EBS , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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