Advaxis picks inVentiv for cancer immunotherapy trials

Vaccine developer Advaxis ($ADXS) is teaming up with CRO inVentiv Health to advance a stable of oncology candidates that work by mounting an immune system attack on cancer tissue.

Under the deal, inVentiv will offer a full range of development services for ADXS-HPV, Advaxis' lead treatment for cervical cancer, now on its way toward trials for regulatory approval. The CRO will also pitch in on ADXS-cHER2, an early-stage treatment for pediatric osteosarcoma, and ADXS-PSA, a Phase I prostate cancer treatment.

Importantly for Advaxis, inVentiv's platform includes clinical and marketing services, meaning it will have easy access to commercialization help if ADXS-HPV wins FDA approval, CEO Daniel O'Connor said.

"After an extensive global review of potential clinical research organizations, we selected the broad-scale inVentiv platform as an important differentiator for our program," O'Connor said in a statement. "This agreement spans clinical development, as well as potential commercial support for our cancer immunotherapy product candidates."

The deal falls in line with inVentiv's focus on partnering up with midsize biotechs, as the CRO boasts being big enough to support single-product drugmakers pursuing any indication and nimble enough to offer each a bespoke service offering. Since getting bought by a private equity group for $1.1 billion in 2011, the Massachusetts CRO has grown to employ 12,000 people in 40 countries, going beyond clinical research and offering services like legal consulting, policy work and market access.

- read the announcement

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