US biopharmaceutical firm Amgen will collaborate with cancer immunotherapy specialist Advaxis.

Under the deal, Amgen will receive exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise Advaxis’ investigational cancer treatment, ADXS-NEO. It is designed to activate patients’ immune systems to respond against the unique mutations, or neoepitopes, identified from their own tumours.

Amgen will pay Advaxis $40 million (£30 million) up front, and buy $25 million in Advaxis shares. While Amgen will finance all of the clinical and commercial work, Advaxis will oversee the product’s clinical development.

Advaxis will also receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $475 million, plus royalties on any eventual sales.

Team effort

Collaboration continues to drive development in immuno-oncology. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has partnered with Janssen to evaluate combination of BMS’ immuno-oncology agent Opdivo (nivolumab) and Janssen’s live attenuated double–deleted (LADD) Listeria monocytogenes cancer immunotherapy.