If Roche exercises its option for a commercial license, the deal could be worth $32 million.

Roche is paying an undisclosed up-front fee to evaluate ImmunoCellular Therapeutics’ (IMUC) preclinical antibody for its potential to diagnose and treat multiple myeloma (MM) and ovarian cancer. Upon completion Roche has the right to acquire a commercial license for ICT-69 and will pay an option exercise fee.

Total payments including development milestones could reach $32 million. IMUC will also earn royalties on worldwide sales of related products.

ICT-69 was designed using IMUC’s DIAAD (differential immunization for antigen and antibody discovery) technology.  Preclinical data has demonstrated its ability to target antigens specific to human MM cells without binding to healthy tissues, according to the company. 

IMUC holds four issued patents pertaining to ICT-69 and its ability to act as both a therapeutic antibody as well as a diagnostic tool for MM and ovarian cancer.  

IMUC’s own focus is on its off the shelf therapeutic vaccine candidate, which targets cancer stem cells for multiple cancer indications. Clinical trials for brain cancer are expected to begin in early 2010. It has another antigen vaccine in Phase I development for glioblastoma, but Manish Singh, Ph.D., president and CEO of IMUC, has said that the candidate is better suited for a company with more manufacturing capabilities.

Its mAb pipeline is at the preclinical stage and comprises candidates for small-cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

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