The massive expansion of AstraZeneca‘s pipeline continues, as its biological subsidiary, MedImmune buys Inovio Pharmaceuticals‘ clinical-stage cancer vaccine that targets cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). MedImmune, which makes up nearly 50% of AstraZeneca’s pipeline, may spend over $720M (€653M) to bolster its cancer-associated portfolio.
HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted virus and causes several types of cancers as for example cervical cancer. US-based Inovio designed a DNA-based immunotherapy, called INO-3112, that activates killer T cells to fight cancer caused by the HPV types 16 and 18. These types are responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancers. The drug combines the company’s VGX-3100, its immunotherapy targeting HPV-caused diseases, with its DNA-based immune activator encoded for IL-12.
Earlier this year, Inovio reported that INO-3112 generated antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses in 75% of patients with HPV associated head and neck cancer. These results represent the first report of antigen-specific T cell immune responses generated in cancer patients treated with a DNA immunotherapy.