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NEC OncoImmunity Acquires Vaximm's Neoantigen Vaccine Program

NEW YORK – NEC OncoImmunity on Tuesday acquired Vaximm's neoantigen vaccine program, which includes its preclinical candidate NECVAX NEO 1 and other undisclosed assets.

Under the agreement, NEC will acquire the company's neoantigen vaccine-related patents, license its manufacturing patents, and take over several existing contracts with collaborators. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the acquisition.

The transaction gives NEC access to Vaximm's plug-and-play DNA vaccination technology, which uses a live, modified, attenuated bacterial vaccine strain to stimulate patients' T cells against an array of cancer-related antigens. Using it, Oslo, Norway-headquartered NEC can quickly scale manufacturing of personalized T-cell cancer vaccines and expects to begin its first clinical trials based on Vaximm's assets this year.

The two firms initially partnered in 2019 to codevelop cancer vaccines using NEC's artificial intelligence platform focused on identifying neoantigens and predicting antigen presentation, and Vaximm's T-cell immunotherapy technology. Under that original collaboration, NEC also made an equity investment in Vaximm and provided funding to initiate a Phase I study for a neoantigen vaccine, dubbed NECVAX NEO 1. The companies have received approval in Europe to begin clinical trials for that vaccine.

"We believe this is a transformative transaction for NEC OncoImmunity and NEC. With it, [NEC OncoImmunity and NEC] has acquired the rights to an attractive delivery platform with broad therapeutic potential in oncology and other areas," NEC OncoImmunity CEO Richard Stratford said in a statement. "Our unique artificial intelligence technology is focused on several attractive areas of unmet medical need with major market potential, and we now have the components in place to fully realize this significant commercial opportunity."

Vaximm will retain rights to its oral T-cell activation platform technology and its other product candidates, including its lead T-cell immunotherapy candidate targeting VEGFR2, VXM01, which is being studied in glioblastoma, neurofibromatosis type 2, and colorectal cancer.