HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Apr 8, 2014) - Immunovaccine Inc. ("Immunovaccine" or "IMV") (TSX VENTURE:IMV), a clinical stage vaccine company, today announced that its DepoVax™ adjuvanting technology will underlie the design of a new cancer vaccine trial that will be conducted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to treat cervical and head and neck cancer.
In a competitive process, Dana-Farber has been awarded a research grant of $1.2 million for clinical evaluation of its cancer vaccine. The grant from Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the Farrah Fawcett Foundation was awarded to a team of Dana-Farber researchers in a ceremony last evening at the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.
The three-year grant will be used to fund a Phase I clinical trial of the group's peptide cancer antigen formulated in DepoVax in patients with HPV-related cervical and head and neck cancers.
The grant was awarded based on a proposal highlighting the potential of Dana-Farber's proposed cancer antigen identified by a new mass spectrometry method termed Poisson detection MS and Immunovaccine's DepoVax platform. The DepoVax data focused on clinical trial results with DPX-Survivac, which demonstrated strong immune response activity in cancer patients and the immune enhancement observed with the immune modulating agent cyclophosphamide. Dana-Farber's proposed Phase I study in HPV-related cancers will use the same approach, formulating the Institute's peptide-based vaccine in DepoVax and administering it to patients in combination with cyclophosphamide.
"We believe that the grant committee was encouraged by novel interdisciplinary science in conjunction with the powerful immunogenicity data that Immunovaccine has collected to date with our DPX-Survivac cancer vaccine candidate," stated Marc Mansour, Ph.D., chief operating officer of Immunovaccine. "We are excited to work with the talented team at Dana-Farber and add value to their clinical program with our DepoVax technology. Our previous work with DPX-Survivac gives us confidence that DepoVax has the potential to induce strong immunological responses to their novel antigen to enable the vaccine in the clinic."
The SU2C-Farrah Fawcett Foundation HPV Translational Research Team Grant provides three years of funding for a multidisciplinary, translational cancer research project that addresses critical problems in HPV-related cancers and that can deliver near-term patient benefit through investigation by a team of two expert investigators. To be considered for the grant, research project designs were required to include clear plans indicating how the work will be translated into the clinic and deliver near-term benefits to patients with HPV-related cancers. HPV infection causes virtually all cervical cancers, and many anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.
DepoVax™ is a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens plus adjuvant to the immune system, resulting in a strong, specific and sustained immune response with the capability for single-dose effectiveness. The DepoVax platform possesses impressive flexibility, allowing it to work with a broad range of target antigens in various therapeutic applications. The technology is also commercially scalable, with potential for years of stability and ease of use in the clinic.
DPX-Survivac consists of survivin-based peptide antigens formulated in the DepoVax™ adjuvanting platform. Survivin has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a promising tumor-associated antigen (TAA) because of its therapeutic potential and its cancer specificity. Survivin is broadly over-expressed in solid tumors and blood cancers including ovarian, breast, colon and lung cancers, among others. Survivin plays an essential role in antagonizing apoptosis, supporting tumor-associated angiogenesis, and promoting resistance to various anti-cancer therapies. Survivin is also a prognostic factor for many cancers and it is found in high percentage of cancer patients.
The DPX-Survivac vaccine is thought to work by eliciting a cytotoxic T-cell immune response against cells presenting survivin peptides on HLA class I molecules. This targeted therapy attempts to use the immune system to actively search for tumor cells expressing survivin and destroy them.
Immunovaccine Inc. develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the Company's DepoVax™ platform, a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens and adjuvants to the immune system. Immunovaccine has advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase I human clinical trials. Lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, is expected to enter Phase II clinical studies in 2014, in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma (brain cancer). The Company is also advancing an infectious disease pipeline including innovative vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and anthrax.
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