Vaccines Based on Immunotherapies Being Tested in Phase 2 Trials in Brain Cancer

Vaccines Based on Immunotherapies Being Tested in Phase 2 Trials in Brain Cancer

Immunomic Therapeutics has entered an exclusive licensing agreement with Annias Immunotherapeutics for the rights to use Annia’s intellectual property regarding an immunotherapy based on antigens of cytomegalovirus (CMV). Both companies are developing new approaches for generating vaccines for cancer.

Under the new licensing agreement, Immunomic will be able to combine LAMP-Vax, its investigational nucleic acid-based immunotherapy platform, with Annia’s CMV immunotherapy platform. Duke University’s John H. Sampson, MD, PhD, and Duane A. Mitchell, MD, PhD, developed this platform, which was later licensed to Annias.

LAMP-Vax DNA vaccines are designed to improve antigen “presentation” to immune T-cells, thus enhancing the body’s immune response to a vaccine.

CMV antigens are largely expressed in a variety of cancer cells, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Combining both immunotherapies may improve the immune system’s ability to recognize, attack, and specifically destroy tumor cells expressing CMV proteins.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Drs. Mitchell and Sampson, two giants in the field, to work toward treatment options for glioblastoma patients. GBM is an aggressive brain cancer that has devastated so many lives and for which medical advances have been so incredibly slow,” William Hearl, PhD, CEO of Immunomic Therapeutics, said in a press release. “This license enables us to support and accelerate development of a potential new generation of cancer immunotherapy based on our proprietary LAMP-Vax platform not only for GBM but also for other types of cancer.”

The randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial, called ATTAC-II (NCT02465268), is currently recruiting participants with newly diagnosed GBM. It will investigate if dendritic cell (DC) vaccines targeting the human CMV antigen pp65 are an effective treatment for GBM and improve patients’ survival. The vaccine will be administered together with stronger doses of routine chemotherapy.

Annias is focused on developing immunotherapeutic approaches to treat cancers whose cells express CMV. Several clinical development strategies are underway, including the ongoing randomized PERFORMANCE Phase 1/2 trial (NCT02864368), testing a multi-epitope peptide vaccine in patients with GBM.

“This agreement validates the dominant patent position Annias has in the field of cancer immunotherapies that target CMV,” said Reiner Laus, MD, CEO of Annias Immunotherapeutics. “We will continue to develop our own portfolio and will further evaluate opportunities for limited out-licensing to companies that develop CMV-directed cancer immunotherapies.”

For more information on the ATTAC-II clinical trial, contact Phuong Deleyrolle at: (352) 273-5529 or phuong.deleyrolle@neurosurgery.ufl.edu. For the PERFORMANCE trial, contact Denise Jaggers at: (919) 668-0673 or mailto:denise.jaggers@duke.edu.

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