The present cancer situation clearly indicates that better treatment options which selectively target cancer dependent pathways with little or no toxicity to normal tissues are urgently warranted. Novel and cheaper alternatives to current cancer therapeutics, including vaccine candidates that can train the human immune system to fight deadly forms of cancer, offer great hope for cancer patients in winning the war against cancer.
In addition, a combination approach that will completely shut down cancer dependent pathways and other alternative pathways in cancer will prevent acquired resistance and patient relapse. Efforts at Vaxeal put these key aspects in the forefront with the use of peptides as vaccine candidates combined to immune-modulatory drugs.
The formation of a strong intellectual portfolio is at the heart of Vaxeal’s strategy. Vaxeal continues to expand, to consolidate and to update its intellectual property position and product pipeline.
Vaxeal already signed exclusive worldwide license agreements for the protection of T-cell epitopes of the tumor antigens Survivin and Cyclin B1 with the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA).
Vaxeal brings together diverse advanced expertise in tumor immunology and development of cancer immunotherapies, including predictive T-cell assays, ex-vivo assessment of T-cell responses in cancer patients, new relevant pre-clinical animal models, as well as optimal antigen formulation.
Vaxeal’s proprietary long synthetic peptide vaccines SVX-1, and CBX-1 targeting broadly expressed tumor antigens have been assessed for their immunogenicity in reliable pre-clinical animal models.
We have completed manufacturing validations, and extensive pre-clinical studies with human cells, from healthy donors and cancer patients, and in transplantable and spontaneous animal tumor models providing valuable “proof of concept” information of the high immunogenicity and the therapeutic efficacy of the SVX-1 vaccine, supporting its clinical development. Pre-clinical results also provide the relevance the combination of SVX-1 vaccine with ICIs targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway to give SVX-1 cancer immunotherapy. Vaxeal will initiate in 2019 Phase I/II clinical trials of SVX-1, in cancer patients.
Survivin is a tumor antigen over-expressed in most common human cancers associated with poor prognosis, whereas it is poorly expressed in most normal adult tissues. In tumor cells, this protein is essential for survival as it regulates both cell division and apoptosis. Several studies indicated that Survivin is immunogenic in tumor bearing patients and several T-cell epitopes have been identified in its sequence.
This protein thus fulfills major criteria to be considered a prime target antigen for the development of cancer immunotherapy, including:
According to its relevant functions and expression profile, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) prioritized Survivin as a target for the development of cancer immunotherapies.
Cyclin B1 is a protein over-expressed in various human tumors and its up-regulation is closely associated with poor prognosis. This protein plays a pivotal role in tumor cells by mainly regulating the cell division but also the resistance to radiotherapy and to adjuvant therapy in certain carcinoma. In cancer patients, both humoral and T-cell responses have been detected in response to aberrant Cyclin B1 expression. All of these features make Cyclin B1 an attractive target for the development of cancer immunotherapy.