Therapeutic vaccine company Vaccibody today announced that it has received a grant up to NOK 20 million (USD 2.3 million) over four years from the Norwegian Research Council ‘s BIA Program to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines based on each patient’s specific neoantigens. Neoantigens are tumour- specific mutations in cancer cells. While most commonly shared tumour antigens used in cancer vaccines to date have to overcome central tolerance in the tumour, neoantigens are not subject to central tolerance. Recent success with related immunotherapies reveal the importance of immunity specific for neoantigens in patients with clinical benefit. This insight reveal an intriguing new interest in strategies that specifically stimulate neoantigen-specific immune responses, and neoantigen-based cancer vaccines should be particularly attractive.
The recent rapid development in sequencing and bioinformatics opens up the opportunity to rapidly identify immunogenic neoantigens and design patient-and tumor-specific cancer vaccines. Vaccibody’s DNA vaccine technology holds the potential to develop and produce highly effective neoantigen-based cancer vaccines. To increase the chance of success, Vaccibody has put together a strong team with national and international partners with expertise in bioinformatics, vaccine delivery and translational research. The project seeks to complete a clinical proof of concept study with the neoantigen-based Vaccibody DNA cancer vaccines in advanced cancer patients.
Vaccibody has extensive experience within therapeutic DNA vaccine development. Preclinical models demonstrate highly improved efficacy of Vaccibody vaccines compared to other vaccine technologies for a range of disease models. The lead product, VB10.16 immunotherapy, is currently tested in a multicentre phase I/IIa study for the treatment of high grade Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN 2/3) caused by human papillomavirus 16 (HPV 16). The expertise from the VB10.16 program will serve as an essential basis and speed up the clinical development of the neoantigen program.
“We are very encouraged by the support from BIA. This funding will help accelerate our efforts to explore our unique technology in an intriguing new field of cancer immunotherapy. We believe that the Vaccibody DNA vaccine platform is especially well suited for neoantigen-based cancer vaccine development and we are confident that we have put together a great team to support the entire chain of events needed to explore this exciting new project ” says CEO Martin Bonde.