As part of its bid to become a major player in oncology, Pfizer has licensed a mid-stage brain cancer vaccine from Avant Immunotherapeutics in a deal that could be worth $£440 million.

The agreement involves CDX-110, which is in Phase II development for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. The compound, which has been granted both fast-track and orphan drug status by the US Food and Drug Administration, targets the tumor-specific molecule EGFRvIII, a variant of the epidermal growth factor receptor, a protein “that has been well validated as a target for cancer therapy in certain tumour types”, Pfizer stated.

In terms of the financial aspect of the deal, Pfizer will pay Avant $40 million upfront and make a $10 million equity investment in the firm. Additionally, the Massachusetts-headquartered firm is eligible to receive milestone payments totalling $390 million tied to the successful development and approval of CDX-110. Pfizer is taking over all development costs and will pay double-digit royalties to Avant on the sales of the drug, which the latter got hold of through its recent merger with Celldex Therapeutics.

GBM is the most common and aggressive form of primary brain tumor, and there are an estimated 10,000 new cases annually in the USA. The current standard treatment includes surgical resection, radiotherapy with concurrent temozolomide and then adjuvant temozolomide chemotherapy.

Positive Lyrica data
Pfizer has also presented data at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting which confirms that Pfizer's Lyrica (pregabalin) reduced the pain of fibromyalgia in patients regardless of whether they experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression

The results are from a pooled analysis of data from three placebo-controlled clinical trials (8 weeks, 13 weeks and 14 weeks long) of Lyrica in more than 2,000 fibromyalgia patients.