Immunovaccine Inc. has 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.