Deal includes exclusive use in ovarian and pancreatic cancers and nonexclusive use in brain cancer.

University of Pittsburgh has licensed to ImmunoCellular Therapeutics intellectual property surrounding EphA2, a tyrosine kinase receptor that is reportedly highly expressed by ovarian cancer and other advanced and metastatic malignancies. The agreement grants a worldwide, exclusive license for ovarian and pancreatic cancers and a worldwide, nonexclusive license for brain cancer.

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics will employ the Pitt intellectual property in the development and commercialization of ICT-140, a multivalent, dendritic cell-based vaccine for the treatment of ovarian cancer. ICT-140 is designed to target cancer stem cells as well as daughter cells in ovarian cancer by targeting different antigens including EphA2, mesothelin, Her-2/neu, IL-13Rα2, and other undisclosed antigens.

“Experimental data have indicated that EphA2, which is highly expressed by ovarian cancer, holds significant promise as an immunotherapeutic target, specifically for dendritic cell-based vaccines such as ICT-140,” said Manish Singh, Ph.D., president and CEO. He says that the company intends to file an IND application for ICT-140 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“While further research is necessary to determine the therapeutic value EphA2, our decision to license it reflects our determination to develop a novel vaccine that harnesses the patient’s native immune system to precisely and comprehensively target multiple antigens associated with ovarian cancer, a devastating disease that claims the lives of over 15,000 women in the U.S. every year,” Dr. Singh adds.

The company has one immunotherapy in clinical trials. ICT-107 is in a Phase II trial for glioblastoma multiforme. ICT-121 is also being investigated against glioblastoma and is at the preclinical stage. Additionally, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics has three mAbs in preclinical development as treatments for various cancers and one mAb as a diagnostic for small-cell lung cancer.

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