Pharma Focus Asia

Targovax and IOVaxis Therapeutics Enters Option Agreement for TG Mutant RAS Vaccine License and Clinical Development in China

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Targovax ASA, a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing oncolytic viruses and cancer vaccines to target hard-to-treat solid tumors, today announces that it has entered into an exclusive option agreement with IOVaxis Therapeutics of Nantong, China, for clinical development and licensing of the Targovax mutant RAS vaccines TG01 and TG02 in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.  

IOVaxis, a spin-off from ImmuOn Therapeutics, has secured an exclusive option to develop and license the TG01 and TG02 mutant RAS neoantigen vaccines in the above mentioned territories. The option can be exercised into an exclusive license by the earlier of i) the first regulatory approval to start a clinical trial in the territory, or ii) one year from the effective date of the Option Agreement. IOVaxis will pay Targovax USD 250.000 for this exclusive option. The milestone payment for the exercise of the option to license TG01/02 is USD 3 million.

Under the Option Agreement, IOVaxis and Targovax will jointly define a development plan in the territory, and IOVaxis will be responsible for all local regulatory filings and be the sponsor of clinical trials. The full License Agreement remains to be finalized, but the parties have pre-agreed the key commercial and operational terms in the Option Agreement. If exercised, the total potential development and commercial milestones for the TG01/02 license may reach up to USD 100 million, plus tiered royalties on net sales up to mid double digits.

Locust Walk served as transaction advisor to Targovax.

Øystein Soug, CEO of Targovax, said: "The industry is finally realizing the potential value of mutant RAS as a target in cancer and we continue to believe that a vaccine is the optimal therapeutic approach to deal with this target, hence we are thrilled to secure this agreement with IOVaxis. In IOVaxis we have found an ideal partner committed to neoantigen vaccine development in China, the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world. This is both a commercially attractive arrangement for Targovax and will also enable new TG studies to further demonstrate the clinical benefit of our mutant RAS vaccination concept. Therefore, this is an important step for the TG program and Targovax."

Dr. John Wang, CEO of IOVaxis, said: "We are excited to enter into this collaboration with Targovax. IOVaxis is a pioneer in neoantigen cancer vaccine development in China, and we have been searching for suitable shared neoantigen vaccine products to in-license for regional development. Mutant RAS solid tumors are prevalent and a high unmet medical need in China, particularly in pancreatic and colorectal cancers, and we therefore believe the TG01 and TG02 vaccines have significant local commercial potential and can benefit a large number of patients".

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