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Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. Announces Sponsored Research Agreement With the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, To Initiate a Pre-Clinical Immuno-Oncology Trial

Syringe and three vials of vaccine.
Credit: Arek Socha, Pixabay
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Voltron Therapeutics, Inc, a Lucius Partners portfolio company, announced today that it has signed a new Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School to initiate a pre-clinical immuno-oncology trial targeting prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) in prostate, renal cell and urothelial cancers, adding important potential indications to its growing pipeline.

James Ahern, Director at Voltron Therapeutics, has announced that the biotechnology company recently generated robust and compelling data in two pre-clinical trials for human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers sponsored at MGH. The Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) targeting HPV demonstrated a positive and highly statistically significant survival improvement in a dose-related manner. This new pre-clinical program will leverage that important work and expand the Company's potential pipeline into additional types of antigens and cancers.

Pat Gallagher, Voltron's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "In our HPV-related cancer proof of concept trial, Voltron’s SAV demonstrated highly statistically significant increases in survival driven by reduced tumor growth as well as increased tumor infiltration by beneficial immune cells (e.g., CD8+ T cells) using two HPV targeting immunogenic peptides. By using a full protein in our PSCA trials to target cancers of interest instead of specific peptides, we hope to demonstrate unparalleled platform flexibility that would allow us to use full protein sequences to target tumors or viruses of interest. This affords broader targeting in heterogeneous immune systems and could, in theory, allow our vaccine to induce an immune response to any specific tumor antigen of interest.”


Relative to other vaccine approaches, the SAV shows key advantages. It only requires two elements for all vaccines; it has not shown potential to date for off-target immune activation; it has no risks inherent with viral vectors; it does not require special synthetic processes, storage or a complex cold chain like mRNA vaccines.

Dr. Mark Poznansky, Director, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, MGH, commented: "This new and important industry sponsored study explores a broader acting therapeutic approach by exploiting the diverse immunologic functions of the SAV platform to enhance the targeting capabilities of immunogenic epitopes from full proteins. We will explore whether Voltron’s SAV platform is capable of presenting the tumor antigen, in this case PSCA, to multiple types of antigen-presenting cells and thereby facilitate epitope presentation to both MHC class I and class II in the context of immune stimulation.”

James Ahern, who is also Managing Partner of Laidlaw & Company (UK) and Founder of Lucius Partners, stated, "The team continues to identify additional programs for Voltron, driven by their expertise and disciplined process.  We will pursue indications in both oncology and infectious disease that leverage our highly flexible vaccine platform to create new solutions for clinicians and patients. We remain focused on de-risking our programs and to provide value to our shareholders."