Immunovaccine Launches DPX-NEO Program to Develop Patient-Specific Neoepitope Immunotherapies
Initial Collaboration with UConn Health Will Evaluate Immunological and Anti-Cancer Activity of the ‘Next Immunotherapy Frontier’ Using Immunovaccine’s DepoVax™ Platform
Halifax, Nova Scotia; May 5, 2016 – Immunovaccine Inc. (“Immunovaccine” or the “company”) (TSX: IMV; OTCQX: IMMVF), a clinical stage vaccine and immunotherapy company, today announced the launch of its DPX-NEO program to develop neoepitope immunotherapies to further expand the immuno-oncology applications for its DepoVax™-based vaccines. As its first official partnership for this program, Immunovaccine will collaborate with experts in this field at UConn Health on a preclinical study to evaluate the immunologic and anti-tumor activity of patient-specific neoepitopes.
Epitopes are the part of the biological molecule that is the target of an immune response. Neoepitopes are the mutated proteins produced by a patient's own tumors. Neoepitope vaccines target these patient-specific proteins and were recently dubbed ‘the next immunotherapy frontier.1
“Neoepitopes are emerging as a very strong option to advance personalized cancer medicine, as they have tremendous potential to effect cancer treatments that provide truly individualized immunotherapies,” said Frederic Ors, Immunovaccine’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our novel DepoVax™ platform, with its unique mechanism of action and cost-effective, scaleable manufacturing capabilities, is ideally positioned to become an enabling technology in this exciting field.”
Immunovaccine will use the learnings from this and future related collaborations to identify and target optimal formulations for neoepitopes using its proprietary DepoVax™ technology platform, and to develop a fully scalable approach for this type of immunotherapy. A potential future goal is to develop patient-specific immunotherapies with neoepitopes identified in patients’ tumor cells. DepoVax™-based cancer vaccines have already advanced through multiple Phase 1 human clinical trials and Immunovaccine is currently conducting a Phase 2 study with its lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, in recurrent lymphoma.
The principal investigator for the DPX-NEO program’s first study will be Pramod K. Srivastava, Ph.D., M.D., Professor of Immunology and Medicine & Director, Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine at UConn Health. Dr. Srivastava has done extensive research on the methods by which neoepitopes could be used to create cancer vaccines and therapies, and has published several articles on this topic including a recent perspective on the field in Cancer Immunology Research.2
“It is reasonable to expect that we will translate our knowledge of neoepitope specificity into successful immunotherapies in the clinic. The DepoVax™ platform’s track record makes it an attractive candidate to be included into personalized cancer vaccine formulations, and I look forward to the possibility of clinical studies using DPX-NEO to be conducted here at UConn Health,” said Dr. Srivastava.
“The DepoVax™ platform offers distinct advantages for delivering peptide epitopes to the immune system and enables peptide manufacturing that can be easily scaled up and tailored for personalized neoepitope immunotherapies,” continued Mr. Ors. “We firmly intend to focus our business in areas that leverage the benefits of our DepoVax™ technology, and launching DPX-NEO supports this strategy. It applies our significant technology advantages to an exciting opportunity in immuno-oncology.”
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 potential for single-dose effectiveness. The DepoVax™ platform is flexible and can be used with a broad range of target antigens for preventative or therapeutic applications. The technology is designed to be commercially scalable, with the potential for years of shelf life stability. Fully synthetic, off-the-shelf DepoVax™-based vaccines are also relatively easy to manufacture, store, and administer. This would enable Immunovaccine to pursue vaccine candidates in cancer, infectious diseases and other vaccine applications.
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 adjuvant to the immune system. Immunovaccine has advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase 1 human clinical trials and is currently conducting a Phase 2 study with its lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, in recurrent lymphoma. DPX-Survivac is expected to enter additional Phase 2 clinical studies in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma (brain cancer). In collaboration with commercial and academic partners, Immunovaccine is also expanding the application of DepoVax™ as an adjuvanting platform for vaccines targeted against infectious diseases. Immunovaccine’s goal in infectious diseases is to out-license its DepoVax™ platform to partners to generate earlier revenues. Connect at www.imvaccine.com
About UConn Health
UConn Health is an integrated academic medical center that is entering an era of unprecedented growth in all three areas of its mission: academics, research, and clinical care. Based in Farmington, Conn., UConn Health is home to the School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, John Dempsey Hospital, UConn Medical Group, UConn Health Partners, University Dentists and a thriving research enterprise.
Immunovaccine Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking information under applicable securities law. All information that addresses activities or developments that we expect to occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made. However, they should not be regarded as a representation that any of the plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to risks affecting the Company, including access to capital, the successful completion of clinical trials and receipt of all regulatory approvals. Immunovaccine Inc. assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements in this press release except as required by law.
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1 Neoepitope Vaccines Next Immunotherapy Frontier Cancer Discov Published OnlineFirst December 28, 2015; doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-NB2015-179
2 Neoepitopes of Cancers: Looking Back, Looking Ahead. Srivastava, PK. Cancer Immunol Res September 2015 3; 969 doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-15-0134