I’ve always been a bit skeptical of cancer immunotherapies, particularly the use of patients’ own immune system to target tumors. Just look at CancerVax, Cell Genesys, Favrille, and Genitope. One of the major obstacles has been eliciting a strong enough immune response to adequately treat the cancer. Another is identifying the right molecular targets to attack only the tumor cells. Nonetheless, cancer immunotherapies appear to be attracting interest according to Trading Markets.
The FDA approved Dendreon’s cancer vaccine, Provenge, last year for the treatment of prostate cancer. Dendreon’s market cap is now over $4.5 billion. More recently, Amgen acquired BioVex for its oncolytic virus, OncoVex, currently in Phase 3 trials to treat metastatic melanoma and head and neck cancer. Amgen agreed to pay up to $1 billion for BioVex depending on sales milestones. Immunocellular Therapeutics just raised $8.1 million in a PIPE to complete a Phase 2 trial for its dendritic cell vaccine, ICT-107, to treat gliobastoma.