HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, July 12, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Immunovaccine Inc. (TSX:IMV) (OTCQX:IMMVF), a clinical stage immuno-oncology company, today announced a significant achievement in its personalized cancer medicines program. Immunovaccine scientists have successfully formulated 14 neoepitope cancer peptides into one single DepoVax formulation. In preclinical testing, the resulting personalized cancer vaccine demonstrated the ability to generate specific killer T cell responses against cancer peptides. Immunovaccine has filed a patent application covering this novel DepoVax-based rapid formulation process. The supporting data for the patent includes what the Company believes to be one of the first documented reports of 14 different neoepitope peptides synthesized into a single formulation.
“We believe that the ability to effectively combine a high number of diverse peptides without manufacturing limitations represents an important milestone in the deployment of personalized neoepitope immunotherapies,” said Frederic Ors, Immunovaccine’s Chief Executive Officer. “Being able to do it so quickly and efficiently should provide an opportunity to develop truly personalized therapies on a scale that could, in our opinion, truly impact the way in which bespoke medicines are used in today’s treatment landscape.”
This breakthrough evolved as part of the Company’s DPX-NEO program, which aims to develop patient-specific immunotherapies targeting neoepitopes (the mutated proteins, and potential targets of an immune response, produced by a patient’s own tumors.) The methodology under this patent application can include peptides with a wide range of physical and chemical characteristics—including those that are insoluble. Immunovaccine believes that this novel process combines the ease and speed of manufacturing with other advantages inherent in DepoVax formulations, including long-term formulation stability, as well as the potential to elicit a strong and specific T cell response maintained for a year or more.
Neoepitope vaccines have demonstrated significant potential in the realm of personalized medicinesi,ii. However, the complexity and potential expense of advancing these patient-specific vaccines includes substantial challenges for development and large-scale deployment. Intensive work is required to identify patient-specific peptide epitopes, and synthesize them rapidly into a single formulation. In addition, when the neoepitope peptides are selected from patients, investigators have not always been able to include many optimal candidates due to manufacturing limitations of the technology required to synthesize a single formulation.
Immunovaccine believes that the DepoVax-based formulations demonstrate the ability to address these limitations as they do not limit the target peptides to highly soluble peptides. This flexibility should enable investigators to optimize the choices of immunogenic targets access a broader range of candidates.
“Developing a suitably immunogenic delivery system that can accommodate multiple potential targets is one of the most significant challenges faced by this type of therapy, and while we are thrilled to have found a potential solution to this limitation, we believe that the implications of this formulation process can go well beyond the neoepitope space,” said Marianne Stanford, Vice President, Research, at Immunovaccine. “We see future applications of the DepoVax multiple peptide formulation using a high number of tumor-associated antigens in one immuno-oncology agent, or multiple targets for an infectious disease within one vaccine. We are excited to explore the potential applications of this technology.”
About DepoVax Technology
The technology underlying DepoVax formulations suspends vaccine components in an oil diluent that prevents their release at the site of injection. This process forces immune cells to take up these components in an active process, delivering them directly to immune organs such as the lymph nodes. DepoVax formulations have undergone extensive testing in more than 60 preclinical and seven clinical studies. In clinical trials, these formulations have consistently demonstrated the ability to generate robust T and B cell responses, and durable immune responses.
Immunovaccine had previously announced a DPX-NEO collaboration with UConn Health, and is in active discussions with additional industry partners to expand the program.