Imugene candidate increases cancer-fighting antibodies

Monday, 20 April, 2015

Bipharma company Imugene (ASX:IMU) has found that its lead candidate HER-Vaxx, an immunotherapy product for treatment of breast and gastric cancers, demonstrates a powerful increase in the production of cancer-fighting antibodies in preclinical animal model testing.

HER-Vaxx stimulates a polyclonal antibody response to HER-2/neu, the oncogene which is targeted by the currently used monoclonal antibody Herceptin. The enhanced formulation of HER-Vaxx used in the new study incorporates an existing vaccine carrier protein called CRM197 - replacing the virosomes used in previous formulations of HER-Vaxx - together with an adjuvant.

The new formulation shows responses that are up to 10 times those produced in previous versions, as well as shortening the time taken for the immune system to respond to the product (with significant antibody increases after two immunisations and a peak response after three immunisations). Imugene Managing Director Charles Walker noted that the speed of response has been “a reason why some vaccines have failed in the past, and it is greatly encouraging to see this element addressed”.

The experiments thus indicate that a potentially lower dose of the product, and a lower number of immunisations, would provide a better clinical outcome than that offered by previous versions. Walker said Imugene will “utilise this formulation in the Phase 1b/2 trial in HER-2 positive gastric cancer that is on track to commence in the second half of 2015”.

On 17 April, Imugene filed new patent applications around the new formulation for major jurisdictions. If granted, these will reset Imugene’s intellectual property ownership to 2036 from the current expiry of 2030 and also extend geographical coverage.

Imugene (ASX:IMU) shares were trading 20% higher at $0.012 as of around 2.30 pm on Monday.

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