Pfizer, Avant ink $440M cancer vax deal

Avant Immunotherapeutics is pocketing a $40 million upfront fee and a $10 million equity stake from Pfizer in exchange for the worldwide rights to Avant's experimental brain cancer vaccine. And Avant could pocket $390 million in milestone paydays if all goes well with the drug's development. Avant gained control of CDX-110 after completing a merger with Celldex Therapeutics earlier this year.

CDX-110 is in a mid-stage trial designed to demonstrate its efficacy against a defective protein that promotes brain cancer. Pfizer has agreed to take over all development activities and pay out a double-digit royalty to Avant on an approved therapy. Pfizer also gains exclusive rights to EGFRvIII vaccines for other uses.

The Avant deal is just one more in a string of recent Pfizer biotech acquisitions. As Forbes points out, the world's largest drug developer has been bargain hunting: it purchased publicly-traded Coley Pharmaceuticals and Encysive Pharmaceuticals for $164 million and $195 million respectively. It also snapped up two privately-held biotechs: Serenex and CovX. The deals are designed to bolster Pfizer's biotech and oncology pipeline as it faces the loss of some of its biggest drugs to patent expirations over the next several years.

- here's the release
- read the article from Forbes on Pfizer's cancer strategy

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