Immunovaccine, Inc., has announced the launch of its DPX-NEO program to foster and expand its DepoVax-based vaccines for use in immuno-oncology clinical settings.
The program was initiated to develop neoepitopes, molecules that are usually the target of an immune response, but in this case are specifically produced by tumor cells. As a result, they are tumor specific and believed to show great promise in the field of immunotherapy, since scientists can design vaccines targeting specifically these tumor-neoepitopes.
“Neoepitopes are emerging as a very strong option to advance personalized cancer medicine, as they have tremendous potential to effect cancer treatments that provide truly individualized immunotherapies. Our novel DepoVax™ platform, with its unique mechanism of action and cost-effective, scalable manufacturing capabilities, is ideally positioned to become an enabling technology in this exciting field,” Frederic Ors, Immunovaccine’s chief executive officer, said in a press release.
The first partnership is with scientists at UConn Health in a preclinical study to investigate the immunologic and anti-tumor activity of patient-specific neoepitopes. The results from the current and future trials will allow Immunovaccine to identify and target optimal formulations for neoepitopes with its proprietary DepoVax technology platform. The goal is to identify patients’ tumor neoepitopes and develop corresponding patient-specific immunotherapies. Immunovaccine has an ongoing Phase 2 study testing its lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, in recurrent lymphoma.
“It is reasonable to expect that we will translate our knowledge of neoepitope specificity into successful immunotherapies in the clinic. The DepoVax™ platform’s track record makes it an attractive candidate to be included into personalized cancer vaccine formulations, and I look forward to the possibility of clinical studies using DPX-NEO to be conducted here at UConn Health,” said Pramod K. Srivastava, PhD, MD, a professor of Immunology and Medicine, and director, Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine at UConn Health. Dr. Srivastava is also principal investigator for the DPX-NEO program’s first study.
“The DepoVax™ platform offers distinct advantages for delivering peptide epitopes to the immune system and enables peptide manufacturing that can be easily scaled up and tailored for personalized neoepitope immunotherapies. We firmly intend to focus our business in areas that leverage the benefits of our DepoVax™ technology, and launching DPX-NEO supports this strategy. It applies our significant technology advantages to an exciting opportunity in immuno-oncology,” Ors concluded.