PRINCETON, N.J. & SAN DIEGO—Advaxis Inc. and Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. have joined forces in a non-exclusive research and clinical trial collaboration agreement to evaluate combinations of Advaxis' Lm-LLO cancer immunotherapy technology platform—including ADXS-HPV, ADXS-PSA and ADXS-HER2—with Sorrento's fully human antibodies against immune checkpoints, including GITR, OX40, LAG-3 and TIM-3.
Per the terms of the agreement, Advaxis will be responsible for conducting the studies, though both companies will equally share the expenses. Advaxis and Sorrento hope to begin the first of the two planned combination studies next year, and the study results will help inform the decision of whether further clinical development of the combinations has merit. No financial details were disclosed.
"We welcome the collaboration with Sorrento to evaluate its immunomodulatory antibodies in combination with our Lm-LLO immunotherapy technology platform," Daniel J. O'Connor, president and CEO of Advaxis, noted in a press release. "Leveraging Sorrento's fully human antibody library and Advaxis's Lm-LLO immunotherapy technology offers a significant opportunity to target multiple cancer indications and extend the potential of our respective company's technologies."
In the preclinical program for ADXS-HPV, the program investigated ADXS-HPV's therapeutic potential when combined with agnostic research antibodies, including anti-OX40 and anti-GITR. Preclinical data showed that the combinations resulted in significant tumor growth inhibition and prolonged survival in mouse models. Complete regression of established tumors was seen in 40 percent and 60 percent of animals treated with ADXS-HPV in combination with anti-OX40 and anti-GITR antibodies, respectively.
"Clinical collaborations are an integral part of Sorrento's strategy to accelerate the development of our diverse portfolio of immuno-oncology antibodies against a broad range of cancers," said Sorrento President and CEO Dr. Henry Ji. "We are encouraged by the data presented by Dr. Khleif at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, and believe there could be an important clinical benefit from the combination of our antibodies with Advaxis's Lm-LLO immunotherapies."
In other recent news for Sorrento, the company announced yesterday the founding of TNK Therapeutics Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary. TNK Therapeutics will focus on developing CAR.TNKs (Chimeric Antigen Receptor Tumor-attacking Neukoplast) in addition to other complementary cellular therapies and immunotherapies that target both solid tumors and hematological malignancies.
The CAR.TNK technology platform combines Sorrento's proprietary G-MAB fully human antibody technology and CAR designs with Conkwest Inc.'s Neukoplast cell line. Neukoplast (NK-92) is a natural killer (NK) cell line-based therapy. Sorrento and Conkwest established a global exclusive partnership in December of last year to jointly develop next-generation CAR.TNK immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases.