The companies Vaccibody and Roche have started a new collaboration to investigate a drug combination to treat patients with advanced cervical cancer.
Both companies are members of Oslo Cancer Cluster and are involved in the development of novel cancer treatments.
Martin Bonde, CEO of Vaccibody, said: “We are very pleased with this collaboration. This is an important study as it explores a novel targeted treatment approach that addresses the high medical need of patients with advanced cervical cancer.”
Cervical cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer among women in developing countries and is the second most commonly occurring cancer amongst women worldwide.
Vaccibody is a vaccine company that aims to develop and discover new immunotherapies to treat difficult forms of cancer. They have developed a therapeutic DNA vaccine that treats cancers caused by HPV (the human papillomavirus).
Cervical cancer is caused by high risk HPV. HPV16 is the type that most frequently causes cancer.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that aims to switch on a patient’s immune system to kill cancer cells.
Roche is a healthcare company that has developed an immune-checkpoint inhibitor. Now Vaccibody wants to test their vaccine in combination with the immune-checkpoint inhibitor designed by Roche.
An immune checkpoint inhibitor is a type of drug that blocks certain proteins made by some types of cancer cells. When these proteins are blocked, the “brakes” on the immune system are released and T cells are able to kill cancer cells better.
Agnete Fredriksen, President and CSO of Vaccibody, said that the combination of the two drugs build on the positive results seen when their vaccine has been used on patients with cervical cancer. Therefore they now expect to see positive results when they combine the vaccine with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.
During the second half of 2019, Vaccibody expects to begin the phase II study, which will involve 50 patients. It will assess the safety of the drug, its ability to invoke a response in the immune system, how the patients tolerate it and how efficient the drug is. The group for this new drug combination involves patients with advanced cervical cancer.
Raised NOK 230 million
Vaccibody also raised NOK 230 million (EUR 23.6 Million) in a private placement the same week. The sum was indeed placed all within one day, according to Agnete Fredriksen.
The proceeds from the share sales will be used to conduct the phase II clinical study of the drug combination from Vaccibody and Roche. The money will also go to the preparation of expansion patient groups in Vaccibody’s clinical trials and to generate corporate purposes.
For more information, read the press release from Vaccibody.