Play it again, Celldex

Why Celldex jumped on BMS immunotherapy deal

Investors flocked to Celldex Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CLDX) after the company announced a cancer immunotherapy partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY). Buysiders may be hoping the narrow nature of the BMS deal means the biotech isn't done with its deal-making.

Celldex spiked $3.34 (27%) to $15.74 last Wednesday after unveiling an exclusive deal to run a trial of BMS's anti-PD-1 mAb nivolumab with Celldex's anti-CD27 varlilumab (CDX-1127). In 4Q14, Celldex will begin a Phase I/II trial of the combination in up to 200 patients with multiple tumor types.

BMS will pay Celldex $5 million and the partners will share development costs. The pharma will have a right of first negotiation for an undisclosed period if Celldex opts to out-license varlilumab.

PD-1 (programmed cell death 1; PDCD1; CD279) is one of the hottest cancer targets in the industry and BMS's molecule is among the most advanced inhibitors. Earlier this year, BMS started a rolling BLA to FDA for nivolumab as third-line treatment of squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) also has an anti-PD-1 in registration. The pharma's MK-3475 is under Priority Review by FDA to treat advanced

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