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AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. (AVAN) Surges on Pfizer Agreement

Avant Immunotherapeutics(AVAN:NASDAQ) discovers and develops innovative vaccines and targeted immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and infectious and inflammatory diseases. On March 7th ,the company announced a completed merger with Celldex Therapeutics. The resultant merged company has three commercialized products and a deep pipeline of six products in the development stage.

On Thursday April 17th, shares of Avant surged after the company announced a licensing and development agreement with Pfizer. Pfizer will be granted an exclusive worldwide license to a cancer vaccine candidate, CDX-110. This vaccine is in Phase 2 development for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme which is the most common and aggressive form of primary brain cancer. This agreement will also give Pfizer exclusive rights to the use of the vaccine in other potential indications.

CDX-110 has been granted both Fast Track and Orphan Drug status by the FDA. It targets the tumor-specific molecule EGFRvlll, a variant of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) which is a protein that has been confirmed as a target in certain tumor types. Avant is eligible to receive milestone payments exceeding $390 million from Pfizer for the successful development and commercialization of CDX-110 and additional EGFRviii vaccine products.

Additionally, Pfizer is making an upfront payment of $40 million and will make a $10 million equity investment into Avant. Pfizer is also funding all the development costs for the program, and will pay double digit royalties on any product sales. President and CEO of Avant Una S. Ryan,PhD., said, “We believe,that in terms of total potential value,that this is one of the largest deals in the history of cancer immunotherapy.”

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