ImmunityBio and Serum Institute of India secure global BCG supply agreement for cancer treatment

The partnership aims to alleviate global BCG shortages by ramping up production of both standard and next-generation BCG, enhancing the effectiveness of ANKTIVA in treating bladder cancer

New Delhi: ImmunityBio, has signed an exclusive global arrangement with the Serum Institute of India to supply ImmunityBio with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG).
The agreement covers the manufacturing of standard BCG (sBCG) that is currently approved for use outside the U.S., as well as a next-generation recombinant BCG (iBCG) undergoing testing, intended for use in combination with ImmunityBio’s ANKTIVA (nogapendekin alfa inbakicept-pmln) for currently approved and potential future indications, subject to regulatory approvals.
“We are pleased to partner with the Serum Institute of India so that the power of its large-scale, world-class, GMP manufacturing capacity can be used to address the issue of BCG shortage, which affects thousands of bladder cancer patients annually,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., Executive Chairman and Global Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at ImmunityBio. “We are especially proud to be partnering with Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, the Institute’s Chairman and founder and someone who has made such a positive impact on global health.”
The collaboration between SII and ImmunityBio comes on the heels of the FDA’s approval of ANKTIVA for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer with carcinoma in situ (CIS). Increasing the available supply of BCG is intended to address shortages for the combination therapy with ANKTIVA.
“The collaboration between Serum Institute of India and ImmunityBio will undoubtedly transform the way we approach cancer treatment. It will improve global access to BCG and at the same time—the unique therapy is the key to achieve a complete solution for bladder cancer. We are truly excited to witness the incredible impact this collaboration will have on improving patient outcomes and saving countless lives,” said Adar C. Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India.
Originally used as a tuberculosis vaccine, BCG administered via intravesical instillation (delivery to the bladder via a catheter) has been the standard of care for patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer since 1977. BCG is a benign bacterium that induces an immune response in the bladder in proximity to the cancer cells, leading to clearance of the cancer in many patients.
BCG is one of the most widely used vaccines worldwide and has been given to more than 4 billion individuals with astonishing safety records. However, because BCG is a biologic drug that uses benign bacteria it is more complicated to make than many other types of drugs. SII is the largest manufacturer of BCG vaccine across the world, while Merck & Co. based in New Jersey currently is the only manufacturer of BCG (TICE® BCG) in the U.S.
“The scale and quality of vaccines that the Serum Institute manufacturers is unparalleled and we are honored to partner with Dr. Poonawalla and his leadership team on this important initiative,” said Richard Adcock, President and CEO of ImmunityBio. “By providing another option for BCG, we believe more NMIBC patients will be able to benefit from this proven treatment as both a monotherapy and a combination therapy with ANKTIVA.”
ImmunityBio plans to conduct clinical trials to study recombinant BCG (iBCG) and sBCG manufactured by Serum Institute in combination with ANKTIVA for the treatment of different types of bladder and other cancers. Supply of BCG is expected to be available once the protocol for the trial has been authorized by the FDA. ImmunityBio plans to submit the protocol to the FDA and to global regulatory bodies in the next 30 days.