Gothenburg, Sweden, 2014-10-27 14:15 CET (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Immunicum AB (publ) today announced that it has acquired the patent rights to a genetically modified adenovirus vector. The vector is primarily intended to be used for efficient loading of vaccine cells by a variety of tumor antigens in the therapeutic cancer vaccine SUBCUVAX. This cancer vaccine does not require access to an injectable tumor but can be injected under the skin (subcutaneously) for the treatment of various cancers. Another use is oncolytic therapy with tumor killing virus particles.
The US patent pending adenovirus vector has been developed by a research team at the Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, led by Professor Magnus Essand and is now owned by the research company Virex AB.
The seller is entitled to three smaller payments from Immunicum, one of which is conditional and two of which are unconditional. The total value of the payments is 1.5 million SEK. The seller is also entitled to a smaller royalty on revenues related to the acquired asset. Within the framework of the contract, the seller receives a license to use the vector for development and commercialization of tumor killing virus particles for oncolytic therapy of neuroendocrine tumors. Immunicum is entitled to royalties on the revenues Virex may receive from such use and retains the right to use the vector for oncolytic therapy in all other cancer indications. Further details on the terms of the agreement are not revealed.
“The genetically modified adenoviral vector, which can be loaded with genes encoding both tumor antigens and immune-stimulating factors, has been shown to have a highly efficient capacity to “infect” dendritic cells. The vector thus creates an opportunity to load Immunicum’s vaccine cells with several relevant tumor antigens simultaneously without the need to inlicense the antigens in order to have a complete SUBCUVAX vaccine. This gives Immunicum the opportunity to conduct clinical trials with a tumor vaccine that can easily be administered under the skin”, says Immunicum’s Chief Scientific Officer, Alex Karlsson-Parra.
In the spring of 2015, Virex is planning to launch a phase I/II study in patients with neuroendocrine tumors with an oncolytic virus based on the vector technology. As shown above, Virex holds a license to develop and commercialize products in this indication and Immunicum has rights to royalties and other payments that may be generated from the sale of the product to a third party. Immunicum owns the rights to the vector in all other cancer indications.
“The acquisition of the rights to this unique vector increases the chances of successfully developing subcutaneous, therapeutic cancer vaccines in the context of Immunicum’s SUBCUVAX treatment. Opportunities to offer SUBCUVAX to companies that develop their own antigens persist. We also see opportunities for using the vector to develop oncolytic treatments of several types of cancer, and intend to license out the vector for this purpose if Virex’s planned clinical study will be successful, “says Immunicum’s CEO, Jamal El-Mosleh.
SUBCUVAX treatment involves specially treated allogeneic dendritic cells from healthy donors which are loaded with tumor-specific antigens in vitro and injected under the skin. Since the vaccine cells can be loaded with different types of antigens, it is theoretically possible to design vaccines for therapeutic treatment of all types of cancer.
For further information, please contact:
Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO, Immunicum, +46 (0)31 41 50 52,
Certified Adviser Redeye AB
Tel: +46 (8) 545013 31. www.redeye.se
About Immunicum AB (publ)
Immunicum AB (publ) develops vaccines for the treatment of tumor diseases. A phase II trial of the Company’s most advanced project, INTUVAX® in renal cell carcinoma, is expected to start in early 2015. The project portfolio consists of three further projects against various cancers, including liver cancer.