Insight journal - Therapy

Trends analysis: Cancer vaccine partnering on the rise

Posted on 17 June 2014

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Recent trends analysis suggests that research in personalized medicine and vaccine development for disease treatment has increased partnering and collaboration in this arena. 

Vaccines are now developed not just for infectious diseases but also in cancer treatments. In the past, lack of understanding of basic immunological mechanisms hindered vaccine development. Numerous research is carried out to better understand the immune response mechanisms. This has led to the recent advancements in the study of vaccines for cancer treatment. Biotech companies like Advaxis and Immunocellular Therapeutics are now investing in vaccine technology to treat cancer .

Our database Current Agreements reveals the trends in cancer vaccine partnering which has increased significantly since 2009 with a peak in 2010. There has been a decline in partnering activity since then but market forecasts suggest a gradual pick up in the upward trend.

Figure 1: Cancer vaccine partnering by year - 2009-2014









Source: Current Agreements, 2014

Surprisingly, big pharma companies are not the most actively involved in cancer vaccine dealmaking whereas biotech companies have shown promise in active dealmaking in this sector.

Figure 2: Active cancer vaccine dealmaking activity– 2009 to 2014








Source: Current Agreements, 2014

The majority of the cancer vaccine deals are in the discovery and development stage whereby the licensee obtains a right or an option to license the licensors cancer vaccine technology.

 Figure 3: Cancer vaccine partnering by stage of development - 2009-2014










Source: Current Agreements, 2014

According to the Current Agreements life science deals and alliance database, the primary oncology disease targets for cancer vaccine partnering include prostate cancer, melanoma, breast and brain cancer.

Figure 4: Cancer vaccine partnering by oncology therapy area - 2009-2014






















Source: Current Agreements, 2014

Several high value deals are entered by companies for cancer vaccine technology.

An example of a deal term entered by Novartis and Transgene for $974 million is as follows:

Novartis, Transgene: Licensing, option, manufacturing, supply and co-promotion agreement for TG4010 (MVA-MUC1-IL2)

Exclusive option agreement with Novartis for the development and commercialisation of Transgene’s targeted immunotherapy product, TG4010 (MVA-MUC1-IL2), for the first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other potential cancer indications.

Pursuant to the agreement, Transgene has granted Novartis an option to acquire an exclusive worldwide license for TG4010 and Novartis will pay Transgene a $10 million non-refundable option fee.

Contingent upon the exercise of the option by Novartis and the achievement of successful development, regulatory and commercial milestones in various indications, Transgene is eligible to receive up to a total of approximately €700 million.

According to the agreement, Transgene will initially fund and retain control over the next clinical development phase of TG4010, which is a pivotal, global phase IIb/III clinical trial that Transgene currently anticipates starting by the end of 2010.

In accordance with the option agreement, Novartis will have up to 90 days after receiving results from Transgene for this phase IIb portion to exercise its option.

If the option is exercised:

  • Novartis will assume all development, regulatory and commercialisation costs related to TG4010 across all indications.
  • Transgene will receive a non-refundable licence issuance fee and further milestones contingent upon successful development for various indications and the achievement of longer-term commercialisation targets.
  • Transgene will receive royalties on global sales.
  • Transgene will retain co-promotion rights in certain countries including France and China.
  • Transgene will retain primary manufacturing rights for TG4010 to supply Novartis’ clinical and commercial requirements.

Transgene and Novartis will now form a joint working group to oversee the implementation of the TG4010 global development program.

The following figure shows the leading cancer vaccine deals by headline value of the deal when announced between 2007 and 2013.

Figure 5: Cancer vaccine partnering by deal value - 2009-2014











Source: Current Agreements, 2014

The  Cancer Vaccine Partnering Terms and Agreements report published by Current Partnering provides full details of over 500 cancer vaccine partnering deals announced since 2007 and includes average deal terms including headline, upfront, milestone and royalty rates, where available. In addition, the report provides details of deals broken down by deal type, stage of development, company A-Z and technology type. More details here


The above information has been abstracted from the following resources:

Shamini Thiagarajan



Read: more cancer vaccine deals in pharma, biotech, life science partnering deal news, insights and glossary

Report: Cancer Vaccine Partnering Terms and Agreements

Related reports: Vaccine Partnering Terms and Agreements;

Oncology Partnering Terms and Agreements

Infectious Vaccines Partnering Terms and Agreements

View also: Other technology type reports

View: Current Partnering’s Partnering Scorecard – view top life science partnering deals by value

View: Current Partnering’s Deal Metrics – the latest deal trend infographics for life science deal making

View: Current Partnering’s Big Pharma Deal Making Scorecard – latest trends in big pharma deal making activity

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