Two years and $78M later, Amgen washes its hands of Advaxis’ I/O drug — and shares plummet

Advaxis has taken its investors on a bit of a roller coaster ride this year.

The FDA slapped a clinical hold on a combo study of its lead drug axalimogene filolisbac and AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi in wake of a patient death, which resolved months later after a C-suite overhaul. Late Wednesday, the New Jersey biotech added to the drama by quietly disclosing that Amgen has dropped their $540 million immunotherapy pact.

First inked in 2016 with $65 million upfront, the deal centered around ADXS-NEO, which is designed to recruit a T cell attack on cancer using bioengineered bacteria. But Amgen is returning worldwide rights for development and commercialization just as Advaxis is enrolling patients for its proof-of-concept work — the last step before Amgen was supposed to take over.

The news sent shares $ADXS into a steep drop, plunging 28% in pre-market trading.

Without giving any reasons for the termination, Advaxis says it will now evaluate whether to re-partner the ADXS-NEO program. Neither companies have responded to my requests for comment.

Amgen $AMGN will have until February 8, 2019 to tie up any loose ends.

In 2017 and 2018 Advaxis has received $5.8 million and $7.5 million in reimbursements respectively for an alliance that once promised $475 million in milestones.

The biotech is also partnered with Bristol-Myers on an Opdivo combination program for axalimogene filolisbac.

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Sr. Manager, Regulatory Affairs, CMC
CytomX Therapeutics San Francisco, CA
Marketing Associate - Demand Generation
Catalytic Data Science Charleston, SC
Associate Principal, Life Sciences Partnerships
Flatiron Health New York City or San Francisco

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