NewVac, a subsidiary of ChemRar High Tech Center (a Russian nongovernmental research and development center for life sciences), entered into a co-license agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica to obtain the exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of Janssen’s quisinostat—a next-generation histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) program—in Russia and several other Eastern European countries.

Quisinostat will be investigated for the treatment of patients with solid tumors in combination with standard-of-care agents. Under the arrangement, NewVac will develop quisinostat including R&D support to clinical trials. Janssen will provide its expertise in external global clinical trials.

“Our goal is to create an innovative world-class biomedical platform for the treatment of oncologic diseases based on molecularly targeted compounds including but not limited to immunological cancer therapies in Russia,” Nikolay Savchuk, chairman of the board of NewVac, said. “We were looking very hard for a next-generation HDAC compound, which has potential to demonstrate clinical activity in solid tumors and especially with potential for clinically meaningful improvement of outcomes in resistant or refractory disease. NewVac will initiate solid tumor combination therapy studies, which are accompanied by translational efforts.”

NewVac inked a similar deal in December 2011 with Agenus to manufacture, market, and sell Agenus’ renal cancer vaccine Oncophage in the Russian Federation and CIS countries.

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