Celldex Therapeutics Inc. has said Pfizer Vaccines LLC terminated its agreement with the Needham-based biotechnology firm to develop a potential brain cancer vaccine.
Pfizer has decided that the program “is no longer a strategic priority,” according to a Celldex news release today. As a result, Celldex is to develop and commercialize the potential vaccine, called rindopepimut, effective Nov. 1, 2010. Marucci said in a statement that the company is fully committed to advancing the vaccine program.
“The program has advanced significantly, including the completion of a multi-center Phase 2 study, the development of a diagnostic companion product, the manufacture of drug supply for clinical studies, and the execution of discussions with regulatory agencies on the design of a global controlled study,” said Celldex president and CEO Anthony Marucci.
The original deal in September 2008 between Pfizer and Celldex, which was named Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc.  at the time, included $50 million in upfront cash, and $390 million in milestone payments.
In May, Celldex announced it had launched a Phase 2 clinical trial  for its potential vaccine targeting bladder cancer. The company said it would enroll approximately 60 patients, including those newly diagnosed with a certain form of bladder cancer and those who have not previously received any chemotherapy for the disease. The first data to come out of the study is expected by the end of 2011. That antibody-based vaccine candidate is called CDX-1307.