Australian Biotech EnGeneIC Strikes Landmark Deal with Major US Biotech ImmunityBio for COVID-19 Vaccine and Cancer Treatment

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SYDNEY, Australia and NEW YORK, Nov. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Australian company EnGeneIC has announced a landmark deal with major US biotech ImmunityBio, over a ground-breaking approach to both a COVID-19 vaccine and cancer treatment.

Early results from a clinical trial in adults indicate that the antibodies generated can neutralize COVID-19 and all of its variants, including Delta.

EnGeneIC’s patented EDV™ (EnGeneIC Dream Vector) nanocell technology also targets and effectively kills cancer cells with minimal toxicity, while stimulating an anti-tumour immune response. Phase I and IIa trials in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is underway, and the FDA recently approved another trial in the US.

ImmunityBio’s Executive Chairman is billionaire businessman, doctor and scientist, Patrick Soon-Shiong, who invented the drug Abraxane, used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Dr Soon-Shiong owns the Los Angeles Times and has a large interest in tech company, Zoom.

“It was so exciting and refreshing to find a company and its founders, who believe like we do in the power of the immune system to fight cancer and infectious diseases such as COVID,” Dr Soon-Shiong said. “Drs MacDiarmid and Brahmbhatt have dedicated their careers to bringing this vision to fruition and we are honoured to partner with EnGeneIC to transform how these life threatening diseases are treated. A critical element of the platform is the ability to democratize this technology across the globe and bring much needed 21st century care to the under developed world.”

Under the deal, EnGeneIC will grant ImmunityBio an exclusive, worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialize EDV™ in combination with its anti-cancer drugs and COVID-19 vaccine.

Joint CEOs, Dr Himanshu Brahmbhatt and Dr Jennifer MacDiarmid, described it as a “meeting of minds”. “We believe this collaboration will result in an effective vaccine, particularly against mutants of concern, being deployed in developing countries where vaccine rollout is logistically challenging,” Dr Brahmbhatt said. EDVs can be stored and transported at room temperature and have one year of shelf-life.

EnGeneIC will also receive upfront payments and fees for future cancer programs. “Stimulating different types of immune cells for a broad anti-tumour immune response is essential for dramatically increasing clinical response rates and overall survival,” Dr MacDiarmid said.

ImmunityBio will build EDV™ manufacturing facilities in the USA and South Africa, and cover costs associated with clinical trials and regulatory approvals.

The companies have agreed to a 50:50 split on net profit from worldwide sales of EDV™-based therapeutics.

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About EnGeneIC and the EDV™ Nanocell Technology
EnGeneIC is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company advancing its proprietary EDV™ (EnGeneIC Dream Vector) nanocells for oncology and infectious disease applications. The EDV is a powerful nanoparticle drug, siRNA, or miRNA delivery platform designed to directly target and effectively kill tumour cells with minimal toxicity, while simultaneously stimulating the immune system's innate and adaptive anti-tumour response. EnGeneIC is now in Phase IIa clinical trials in patients with intractable cancers, including patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

About ImmunityBio

ImmunityBio is a leading late-clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing next-generation therapies that drive immunogenic mechanisms for defeating cancers and infectious diseases. The company’s immunotherapy platform activates both the innate (natural killer cell and macrophage) and adaptive (T cell) immune systems to create long-term ‘immunological memory’. ImmunityBio has a comprehensive immunotherapy pipeline with more than 40 clinical trials (company sponsored or investigator initiated)—of which 25 are at Phase II and III stages of development—across 19 indications in solid and liquid cancers and infectious diseases. Currently 17 first-in-human immunotherapy agents are in clinical testing and, to date, more than 1,800 patients have been studied with our antibody cytokine fusion proteins, albumin chemo immunomodulators, Adeno and yeast vaccines and our off-the-shelf natural killer cell products.

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