ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd., which was formerly known as Optical Molecular Imaging, Inc. ("ICT"), announced today that it has entered into an exclusive, worldwide license agreement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center covering Cedars-Sinai's technology for cellular therapies, including dendritic cell-based vaccines for brain tumors and other cancers, as well as other neurodegenerative disorders. The technology is covered by patent applications that have been filed in the United States.
Dendritic cell-based vaccines may bolster the body's natural tendency to defend itself against various forms of cancer. ICT's first product candidate will be a vaccine for treating malignant brain tumors. The high rate of mortality of patients diagnosed with brain cancers and in particular with glioblastoma multiforme (the most lethal form) is driving the scientific community to develop improved treatments to increase the survival time and enhance the quality of life of patients. More than 17,000 cases of glioblastoma are diagnosed each year in the United States. There currently is no satisfactory treatment and two-year survival rates are only in the range of 26%.
ICT has been doing preliminary planning and development work for its lead product candidate and has targeted the first quarter of 2007 to initiate Phase I clinical trial for this brain tumor vaccine therapy.
As part of the licensing transaction with Cedars-Sinai, Dr. John Yu, who is a co-inventor of the licensed technology and the Director of Surgical Neurooncology at the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai, has joined ICT's Board of Directors and will serve as ICT's Chief Scientific Officer on a part-time basis. Dr. Yu's clinical focus is on the treatment of brain and spinal tumors, and he has conducted extensive research in immune and gene therapy for brain tumors. Dr. Yu has published articles in a number of prestigious journals, including The Lancet, Cancer Research and Cancer Gene Therapy. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and master's degree from Harvard University's Department of Genetics and completed his neurosurgery residency and was a Neuroscience Fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Under the terms of the Cedars-Sinai license agreement, ICT issued Cedars-Sinai shares of ICT common stock, together with a small cash payment, as a licensing fee and will be required to make milestone payments to Cedars-Sinai based on clinical trial progress and FDA approval for its first product candidate. Upon commercialization, ICT also will pay royalties to Cedars-Sinai based on product sales. In addition, ICT granted Dr. Yu an option to purchase shares of ICT common stock and he has the right to designate up to an additional two members of the Board of Directors.
About ImmunoCellular Therapeutics
ICT is a Los Angeles, California based development stage company that will seek to develop cellular therapies for the treatment of brain and other cancers as well as neurodegenerative disorders. ICT's initial focus will be on a dendritic cell-based vaccine for treating brain tumors, with a Phase I trial for its leading vaccine product candidate targeted for the first quarter of 2007.
source - Gen Eng News