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ImmunocCellular’s Licensing Deal with U Penn Next Step on Prosperity’s Path

Shepherding a biotechnology company down the regulatory pathway is full of value-driving milestones; some just generally not as widely acknowledged as others.  Of course, the major accomplishments, such as moving from one clinical phase to the next, deservedly send share prices higher, but there are many other steps that more subtly signal corporation advancements and help boost the odds of the end-goal of FDA approval that are crucial on the path to biotech prosperity.  Immunotherapy, treatments that elicit or amplify an immune response to allow a person’s body to combat disease, is an extremely promising and rapidly growing industry with companies like Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CLDX), Oncothyreon (NASDAQ:ONTY) and ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (OTCBB:IMUC) making strides to lead the heralded technology into the mainstream of healthcare.

The beauty for investors is that the immunotherapy sector has some lesser-known companies that have unparalleled headroom for share appreciation as the junior biotechs emerge as industry leaders.  On Tuesday, ImmunoCellular announced that it has entered into an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania under which University of Pennsylvania has granted the Company an exclusive, worldwide license for a patent pending technology for the production of high-activity dendritic cells (DCs). The license covers the application of this technology to the development of therapeutics for all indications except breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ (a type of malignant tumor generally found in the ducts of a gland, but has not metastasized).



While the license will cover a broad array of other possibilities for ImmunoCellular, today it is important for ICT-107, IMUC’s lead DC-based cancer vaccine candidate for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, a common and deadly form of brain cancer.  ImmunoCellular is in the second stage of clinical trials using ICT-107 as an indication for glioblastoma after phase I trials showed the IMUC product to well-outperform today’s standard means of care with 40% of the ICT-107 treated patients being disease-free in three years compared to a meager 6% of those treated by standard care.

Developed by Brian J. Czerniecki, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of University of Pennsylvania’s Rena Rowan Breast Cancer Center and Surgical Director of the immunotherapy program at the Abramson Cancer Center, the technology enables the development of DCs designed to trigger powerful and targeted immune responses to specific cancer antigens.

In the natural human immune system, DCs are responsible for capturing, processing and presenting antigens to T-cells, which in turn target the antigens and destroy them. A key juncture in the process of immunity, the DC’s conversion from antigen-capturing to antigen-presenting mode, known as maturation, relies on the production of special messenger cells known as cytokines. Dr. Czerniecki’s technology produces DCs that express very high levels of the cytokines interleukin (IL) -12 and –IP-10, which have been shown to play a key role in initiating T-cell response.

Manish Singh, Ph.D., IMUC’s president and CEO, commented, “This licensing agreement represents an expansion of our intellectual property surrounding the technology underlying our lead product candidate, ICT-107. In addition to contributing to the powerful immune responses to ICT-107 we have observed to date, this technology also enables the manufacture of multiple vaccine shots from a single production run, allowing us to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing the vaccine. As we continue advancing our ongoing Phase II trial in glioblastoma, we are confident that will continue to realize the benefits of the enhanced efficacy and efficiency of this innovative dendritic-cell production method.”

ImmunoCellular (IMUC)

Biotech investors are well-aware of the cyclic patterns of pharmaceutical companies and that speculative companies moving through clinical trials can yield tremendous upswings in share value.  IMUC’s new licensing agreement is another building block in this growth cycle.  Interest in IMUC is clearly escalating as volume and share price have dramatically increased in the last six weeks as enrollment for phase II research is happening.  It’s a pivotal point in development to validate their products and adds credence to the chances of one day garnering FDA approval – or even accelerated approval – by offering a superior product to a disease with a great unmet need for better life-saving treatments.  Yet, at only $1.80 a share, the potential upside to IMUC is unprecedented compared to its much higher-priced peers.

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC) Stock Quote and News:







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