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IMUC, University of Pa. in deal for dendritic-cell production technology
LOS ANGELES—ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC) announced in late February that it has entered into an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania under which the school has granted IMUC an exclusive, worldwide license for a patent-pending technology for the production of high-activity dendritic cells (DCs).
The license covers the application of this technology to the development of therapeutics for all indications except breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The licensed technology underlies ICT-107, IMUC's lead DC-based cancer vaccine candidate for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. Developed by Dr. Brian J. Czerniecki, co-director of the university's Rena Rowan Breast Cancer Center and surgical director of the immunotherapy program at the Abramson Cancer Center, the technology enables the development of DCs designed to trigger powerful and targeted immune responses to specific cancer antigens.
In the natural human immune system, DCs are responsible for capturing, processing and presenting antigens to T-cells, which in turn target the antigens and destroy them. A key juncture in the process of immunity, the DC's conversion from antigen-capturing to antigen-presenting mode, known as maturation, relies on the production of special messenger cells known as cytokines. Czerniecki's technology produces DCs that express very high levels of the cytokines interleukin (IL) -12 and –IP-10, which have been shown to play a key role in initiating T-cell response.
"This licensing agreement represents an expansion of our intellectual property surrounding the technology underlying our lead product candidate, ICT-107," said Dr. Manish Singh, IMUC president and CEO, in a statement. "In addition to contributing to the powerful immune responses to ICT-107 we have observed to date, this technology also enables the manufacture of multiple vaccine shots from a single production run, allowing us to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing the vaccine. As we continue advancing our ongoing Phase II trial in glioblastoma, we are confident that will continue to realize the benefits of the enhanced efficacy and efficiency of this innovative dendritic-cell production method."
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (OTC.BB: IMUC) is a Los Angeles-based clinical-stage company that is developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of brain and other cancers.