Vaximm has announced positive Phase I results for its lead immunotherapy in the treatment of glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
Vaximm is a Swiss-German biotech that develops bacterial strains modified to act as vaccines for cancer. The company just announced positive results for its lead candidate in a Phase I trial in patients with glioblastoma. The results, which will be presented in detail at the ASCO Annual Meeting in June, are so good that the company has decided to expand the study to include an additional patient cohort.
Out of seven patients, five showed significantly increased levels of CD8+ T-cells in the tumor tissue and four showed a specific T-cell response. One of them experienced a durable response, while other three had stable disease. These are impressive results given that the therapy was trialed on patients whose disease had progressed despite being treated with radiochemotherapy, the current standard of care.
Vaximm’s VXM01 is composed of the attenuated bacterial strain Ty21, which is routinely used to vaccinate against typhoid fever. The company has modified the strain to carry the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2) as the target gene against which the immune system is activated. VEGFR2 is highly overexpressed in the cancer cells of several tumor types, including brain cancer. T-cells primed against it specifically attack the tumor vasculature and can infiltrate the tumor better.
“This trial provides insights that will be helpful in designing future clinical trials in this disease with VXM01 and other immunotherapies,” said Wolfgang Wick from Heidelberg University Hospital, principal investigator of the study. “There is a major need to find more effective treatments to help prevent recurrence of this deadly disease.”
VXM01 passed Phase I for pancreatic cancer last year and is currently in Phase I for colorectal cancer and recently caught the attention of Merck. The big pharma will contribute avelumab, a recently-approved PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor co-developed by Pfizer and predicted to make over €3.6Bn during peak sales, to a combination study that will be run by Vaximm.
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