Immunovaccine just raised $4.2 million in private funding. Combined with a $5 million loan from its home province, Nova Scotia, and $32 million from government agencies and research institutions, Immunovaccine says it’s now funded into 2015, including the launch of three Phase 2 clinical trials next year.
At the core of its pipeline is DepoVax, an adjuvant platform with the potential to provide controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens and adjuvant to the immune system by creating a depot at the site of vaccination.
“Normal vaccines get cleared from site of injection within hours or days. You have to repeatedly vaccinate, and even then you might not generate a strong immune response,” Chief Operating Officer Marc Mansour explained during a recent interview with MedCity News. “We’re forcing the immune system to process it over days and weeks instead of hours. If you have the right immune activators, you end up with a stronger immune response.”
So far, Immunovaccine has advanced two vaccines through Phase I clinical studies. The first, DPX-Survivac, targets the protein survivin, which is broadly expressed across many tumor cell types. By combining the vaccine with at least one immune modulator, Immunovaccine is hoping to delay or prevent cancer recurrence in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma patients in two Phase 2 studies that will start next year. The strategy is to use the vaccine to mop up leftover circulating tumor cells in the blood after chemotherapy, Mansour said.
The second vaccine, DPX-0907, is also on track to enter a Phase 1/2 trial with breast and ovarian cancer patients in Italy. This vaccine is designed to train the body’s T-cells to recognize the multiple antigens incorporated in the vaccine, so that they recognize and attack cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.