NeuVax consists of the E75 peptide derived from HER2 combined with the immune adjuvant granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Treatment with NeuVax stimulates cytotoxic (CD8+) T cells in a highly specific manner to target cells expressing any level of HER2. NeuVax is given as an intradermal injection once a month for six months, followed by a booster injection once every six months. Based on a successful Phase II trial, which achieved its primary endpoint of disease free survival (DFS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted NeuVax a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) for a Phase III clinical trial in adjuvant therapy of women with low-to-intermediate (also known as HER2-Negative, not eligible for Herceptin) status.
According to the National Cancer Institute, over 230,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Of these women, about 75% test positive for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (IHC 1+, 2+ or 3+). Only 25% of all breast cancer patients, those with HER2 3+ disease are eligible for Herceptin® (trastuzumab; Roche-Genentech) which had revenues of over $5 billion in 2010. NeuVax targets the remaining 50% of low-to-intermediate (also known as HER2-Negative, not eligible for Herceptin) who achieve remission with current standard of care, but have no available HER2 targeted adjuvant treatment options to maintain their disease free status.