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UT MD Anderson, GlaxoSmithKline To Collaborate On New Approach To Cancer Immune Therapy; Success Could Earn Cancer Center $335



   UT MD Anderson, GlaxoSmithKline To Collaborate On New Approach To Cancer
 Immune Therapy; Success Could Earn Cancer Center $335 Million Plus Royalties

PR Newswire

HOUSTON, Dec. 7, 2012

Deal to develop MD Anderson discovery draws on expertise of Institute for
Applied Cancer Science

HOUSTON, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Texas MD
Anderson Cancer Center and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have signed a research
collaboration and license agreement to develop new therapeutic antibodies that
promote an immune system attack against cancer.

Under terms of the agreement, MD Anderson grants GSK exclusive worldwide
rights to develop and commercialize the antibodies, which activate OX40 on the
surface of T cells. They were discovered by Yong-Jun Liu, M.D., Ph.D., and
colleagues when he was professor and chair of MD Anderson's Department of
Immunology.

MD Anderson, through its new Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), will
collaborate with GSK to conduct preclinical research on the antibodies.

"This agreement is not only a tribute to the ability of MD Anderson scientists
to discover new targets and potential therapies against those targets for
cancer patients, it's also a testament to the vision shared by GSK and MD
Anderson that successful clinical development of oncology drugs requires
seamless integration of drug development expertise and deep biological
knowledge," said Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., IACS director. "The IACS was
formed to enable precisely such integration to expedite the accurate
translation of great science into drugs."

The overall potential value of the agreement to MD Anderson over the life of
the agreement is estimated at more than $335 million. Under the terms of the
agreement, MD Anderson will receive an upfront license payment and funding for
IACS research collaboration activities, as well as payments for reaching
development, regulatory and commercial milestones. In addition, MD Anderson
will also be entitled to royalties deriving from the commercial sales of
products developed under the collaboration.

"We're excited about this opportunity with GSK to improve cancer treatment,"
Draetta said. "The IACS is a drug development engine with industry-seasoned
scientists embedded in a comprehensive cancer center, and as such is ideally
suited for this type of collaboration."

The institute is a vital platform resource for MD Anderson's recently
announced and unprecedented Moon Shots Program, which focuses resources and
diverse expertise to significantly reduce mortality in the short term and
promote cures long term, beginning with eight inaugural cancers.

Unleashing the immune system
Malignant cells are an abnormality that usually attracts a response from the
body's immune system, yet cancer often survives by evading or thwarting
anti-tumor immunity. Consistently unleashing the power of the immune system
against cancer would be a major step forward for cancer patients.

T cells are lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell produced by the thymus,
equipped with receptors that recognize and bind to antigens, which may include
abnormal cells.

"T cell recognition of a tumor antigen is not enough to activate the T cells
against cancer cells, they need a secondary signal to tell them 'that antigen
you have is a bad thing, you have to attack,'" said Liu, who is now chief
scientific officer and vice president of the Baylor Research Institute of the
Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.

OX40 is one of these secondary or co-stimulatory receptor proteins. Liu and
colleagues found that when it's activated, it enhances immune attack and
blocks suppressors of immune response.

Liu and his MD Anderson colleagues generated and screened hundreds of
antibodies that could potentially act as on switches for OX40 by mimicking its
natural activator, OX40L, a molecule that binds to OX40. Years of research
narrowed the candidates to a handful of activators, or agonists, which were
tested in mice and then altered for human use.

"It's gratifying to see MD Anderson and GSK take this important step towards
translating a basic science discovery into a potential new therapy that can
proceed to clinical trial," Liu said.

Initial clinical trials will occur only after necessary preclinical drug
development conducted under the agreement succeeds.

About MD Anderson
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of
the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research,
education and prevention. MD Anderson is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer
centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For nine of the past 11
years, including 2012, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in
"America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News & World
Report.

This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information,
visit http://www.newswise.com.

SOURCE The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Contact: Scott Merville, +1-713-792-0661, Cell: +1-713-516-4855,
smerville@mdanderson.org
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