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Colby Pharmaceutical Company and MannKind Corporation (Nasdaq: MNKD) today announced a license agreement granting Colby exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize disease-specific antigen compounds and intra-lymph node delivery technologies from MannKind’s novel MKC1106 active immunotherapy programs, which are currently being developed for the treatment of melanoma, prostate, hematological disorders and other human cancers.
Intra-lymph node injections (ILNI, vaccine inoculation directly into the normal lymph node with ultrasound image guided standard syringes) of cancer vaccine antigens have been reproducibly shown to generate much more potent therapeutic T-cell responses, when compared to cancer vaccine antigen immunizations using traditional intra-muscular or sub-cutaneous injections of the same cancer vaccine antigens in animals. In a Phase 1 human melanoma study of MKC1106-MT, the most advanced ILNI regimen from this program, repeat intra-lymph nodal injection for administration of the therapeutic antigens was well-tolerated and generated strong immune responses, clearly meeting the primary endpoints.
Under the terms of the agreement, Colby will pay MannKind upfront and milestone payments linked to the development, approval and commercialization of products, with upfront and potential milestone payments of approximately $140 million total. MannKind will also receive tiered royalties on sales of products.
“We are very keen on this opportunity and in continuing to work with the experienced drug development team at MannKind,” said David Zarling, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Colby. “MannKind has amassed an extensive and thorough active immunotherapy patent portfolio. We fully appreciate and understand that ILNI generates remarkably superior immune responses that also can be adjuvanted, and our organizations share a passion to advance the current MKC1106 clinical melanoma, prostate and other programs. We will also evaluate ILNI for potential synergy with our lead adjuvant, JVRS-100, a cationic lipid-based immune activator of both innate and adaptive immunity. ILNI and JVRS-100 both represent compelling new therapeutic approaches. We have good reason to believe that our collaboration will uncover other more optimal cancer vaccine modalities and synergies with novel adjuvants not yet realized by others working on cancer vaccines and immune activation. We believe that MannKind’s ILNI and our new immune activators, like JVRS-100 or JVRS-200, or other adjuvants, will prove to be important for rational cancer immunotherapies.”