Pharma Focus Asia

Northwest Biotherapeutics Acquires Exclusive Rights to Dendritic Cell Technology Suite

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTCQB: NWBO), a biotechnology company focused on DCVax® personalized immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, announced on June 12, 2024, that it has acquired an exclusive license from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for a set of dendritic cell technologies and related intellectual property (IP). This licensing deal, which concluded after over two years of discussions, represents a significant advancement in the company's efforts to develop cutting-edge cancer treatments.

The license covers five new patent families that were filed in 2023, each with considerable potential due to their full patent lifespan. The technologies involve advanced dendritic cells (DCs) and DC-based therapies, incorporating conditioning regimens to enhance patient responses and methods to modify the tumor microenvironment to improve the effectiveness of immune therapies and address resistance to checkpoint inhibitors.

The licensed DC therapies include versions with tumor antigens loaded into the DCs, as well as techniques for delivering treatments directly into tumors without pre-loading antigens. Phase 2 clinical trials for two types of cancers are currently in progress, with approval pending for a third trial. These studies are supported by grants and are managed by investigators, so additional funding or operational involvement from the company is not expected.

NW Bio has been systematically acquiring various technologies and IP from different institutions to build a leading portfolio in dendritic cell therapies. The new portfolio from Roswell Park complements an earlier portfolio licensed from another institution, together representing more than two decades of research by a distinguished team of dendritic cell specialists, led by Dr. Kalinski.

The initial portfolio includes foundational technologies and IP developed by Dr. Kalinski's team, while the newly licensed portfolio contains further research conducted over the past seven years at Roswell. NW Bio sees these portfolios as complementary, enhancing their combined value and supporting the ongoing clinical development of these technologies in partnership with Dr. Kalinski.

With a well-established infrastructure and extensive experience in producing and delivering personalized cell therapies, NW Bio is well-positioned to accelerate the development of these licensed DC technologies in their late-stage clinical trials. Their ongoing 331-patient Phase 3 clinical trial is among the largest of its kind in personalized cell therapy, and their experience with compassionate use cases provides valuable real-world data.

Linda Powers, CEO of NW Bio, expressed excitement about collaborating with Dr. Kalinski, a leading expert in dendritic cell therapies. She also acknowledged the valuable support from various institutions throughout the licensing process. While the immediate focus is on gaining approval and launching DCVax®-L for glioblastoma, the company is also looking forward to exploring growth opportunities with the newly licensed technologies.

The licensing agreement with Roswell Park includes standard upfront fees and milestone payments related to the commencement of Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials, product approval, and the first commercial sale, potentially amounting to approximately $2.3 million. Additionally, the deal includes royalties of 4% on product sales, which could be reduced to 3% in cases of royalty stacking.



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