AstraZeneca has sealed its third oncology deal in seven days, offering up to $727 million for access to Inovio Pharmaceteutical’s cancer jab INO-3112.

The drug giant said its research and development arm MedImmune will pay $27.5 million upfront as well as potential future development and commercial milestones payments of up to $700 million in return for rights to the experimental immunotherapy.

Under the terms of the deal, MedImmune will fund all development costs, and Inovio also stands to bag up to double-digit tiered royalties on INO-3112 product sales.

INO-3112, which is in phase I/II clinical trials for cervical and head and neck cancers, works by generating killer T-cell responses that are able to destroy human papillomavirus 16- and 18-driven tumours. 

MedImmune said it intends to study the drug in combination with its own immunotherapy molecules for HPV-driven cancers, as evidence suggests their benefit could be enhanced when used in combination with cancer vaccines that generate tumour-specific T-cells.

The firms will also develop up to two additional DNA-based cancer vaccine products not included in Inovio’s current product pipeline. 

The agreement marks AZ’ third in the cancer field this week, following a deal with Heptares to develop the small molecule immuno-oncology candidate HTL-1071 across a range of cancers, and a clinical trial collaboration with Mirati Therapeutics, which will look at a combination of MedImmune’s investigational anti-PDL1 immune checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab (MEDI4736) and Miratir’s investigational spectrum-selective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor mocetinostat.