News Feature | September 12, 2014

MabVax Links Arms With MSK, Juno For Anti-Cancer Drugs

By Estel Grace Masangkay


Clinical stage biotech firm MabVax Therapeutics announced that it has entered into partnerships with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Juno Therapeutics to develop novel anti-cancer therapeutics using MabVax’s antibody discovery platform.

Under the terms of the agreement, MabVax will provide antibody targeting sequences derived from fully human antibodies from its platform to MSKCC. Using the unique antibody sequences, MSKCC researchers will then facilitate early stage R&D of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapeutics. Both the antibodies and CAR therapies will be subjected to evaluations in vitro and in animal models in order to produce solid tumor-specific therapeutics.

Juno has also signed a separate and exclusive option agreement with MabVax. Under its terms, Juno has the right to negotiate a licensing agreement for sole rights to any CAR T-cell treatments using MabVax’s antibody sequences supplied to MSKCC.

J. David Hansen, CEO of MabVax, said that the company is excited to begin work on this research collaboration. “We think that the human targeting sequences derived from our antibody program and incorporated into the very unique and promising CAR T-cell technology developed at MSKCC holds real promise for patients suffering from certain solid tumor cancers. We are very pleased to be able to be involved with Juno, a leader in this new and important therapeutic area.”

The company has produced a pipeline of fully human antibodies directed against eleven cancer targets. In particular, its lead antibody 5B1 has received attention and funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which awarded a $1.5 million contract to MabVax to develop a radiolabeled version of 5B1 as a PET imaging agent for pancreatic cancer.

This July, MabVax announced its merger with a subsidiary of Telik in an all-stock transaction. The company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telik, a clinical stage oncology drug development firm, as a result of the transaction.