GlaxoSmithKline has linked up with Dendreon Corp and will supply the latter with the antigen for its prostate cancer vaccine Provenge.

The agreement covers the commercial production and supply of the antigen used in Provenge (sipuleucel-T), a new therapy for men with advanced prostate cancer that uses their own immune system to fight the disease which was approved in the USA in April. In a regulatory filing, Dendreon noted that it has already placed an initial order for about $8.3 million of antigen, and delivery will commence in August next year.

The deal is a huge boost for Dendreon as there had been concerns about the firm's ability to supply Provenge, The company is only able to supply 2,000 courses of treatment up to April 2011, though its first plant, currently working at around 25% capacity, is scheduled to be running at full capacity during the first half of next year. Construction is expected to be completed on two other facilities in mid-year 2011.

The vaccine is given through three infusions at a cost of $31,000 each, and insurance firms in the USA are working on covering the treatment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is to review Provenge on November 17.

Immatics raises funds for kidney cancer vaccine

Meantime, Germany's Immatics has raised 53.8 million euros which will be used to help fund late-stage clinical testing of an experimental vaccine against kidney cancer.

Immatics plans to start a pivotal Phase III study with IMA901 during 2010, and results are expected by the end of 2013. It also has therapeutic vaccines in early-stage development for bowel and brain cancer.