Since the approval of Dendreon Corp.'s Provenge finally validated the idea of cancer immunotherapy, one of the next big questions has been how this treatment modality would be incorporated into the portfolios of major oncology players. Amgen Inc. provided an idea last week, committing $425 million in cash up front and up to $575 million in milestones to acquire BioVex Inc. for its OncoVEX GM-CSF, an oncolytic vaccine to treat advanced melanoma and head and neck cancer.

The key message is that buyers and investors can now look beyond questions about the science behind immunotherapies and instead focus on what happens in the clinic.