New Data Supports the Use of VBI’s eVLP Vaccines in Combination with Checkpoint Inhibitors
VBI Vaccines Inc. (Nasdaq: VBIV) (“VBI”) is scheduled to present at the World Vaccine Congress Washington on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 at 12:10 PM ET. The event is being held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.
During the presentation, More Foreign than Neo: Harnessing the Power of Viral CMV Antigens in Cancer Vaccines, Dr. David E. Anderson, VBI’s Chief Scientific Officer, will summarize recent progress in VBI’s development of a glioblastoma multiforme (“glioblastoma” or “GBM”) immunotherapy. Dr. Anderson will also present new data that supports the use of VBI’s enveloped virus-like particle (“eVLP”) vaccines in synergistic combination with PD-1 checkpoint inhibition.
VBI has designed a bivalent eVLP vaccine to direct a potent immune response against cytomegalovirus (“CMV”) viral antigens that are frequently expressed in certain cancers, including breast and glioblastoma. In preclinical studies, VBI’s bilvalent eVLP vaccine stimulated strong T cell responses in GBM and breast cancer patient samples.
As additional proof of concept, VBI evaluated its bivalent eVLP vaccine alone and in combination with anti-PD-1 mAb, a checkpoint inhibitor, in ex vivo studies. The combination significantly increased IFN-γ secretion, suggesting improved T cell activity.
“Checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of many cancers by increasing a tumor’s vulnerability to immune attack,” said Dr. Anderson. “However, many patients lack the background anti-tumor immunity required to benefit from checkpoint inhibitors. Our therapeutic cancer vaccine uses CMV viral antigens that are expressed on tumors, and may be more easily recognized by the immune system, to direct a potent anti-tumor immune response. While early, we are excited about this preclinical data and the potential opportunity to improve outcomes in hard to treat cancers.”
Glioblastoma is among the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumors in humans. In the U.S. alone, 12,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.1 The current standard of care for treating GBM is surgical resection, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Even with aggressive treatment, GBM progresses rapidly and is exceptionally lethal, with median patient survival of less than 16 months.2
Targeted immunotherapy may provide a promising adjunct or alternative to conventional GBM treatment. Immunotherapy is a fundamentally different way of treating cancer that stimulates the patient’s immune system to resume its attack on tumors. While conventional therapies are non-specific and may damage surrounding normal tissues, targeted immunotherapy may offer a highly specific and potentially long-lasting treatment approach that leverages the immune system to protect against cancer.
A growing body of research has demonstrated that GBM tumors are susceptible to infection by cytomegalovirus, with over 90% of GBM tumors expressing CMV antigens.3 In addition, recent research has demonstrated that an anti-CMV dendritic cell vaccination regimen can extend overall survival in patients with glioblastoma.4 Thus, effective targeting of foreign viral CMV antigens may represent a potent and attractive strategy for a GBM immunotherapy.
To learn more about VBI’s GBM Immunotherapy Program, visit: http://www.vbivaccines.com/gbm/
- Dolecek TA, Propp JM, Stroup NE, et al. (2012) CBTRUS statistical report: Primary brain and central nervous system tumors diagnosed in the United States in 2005-2009. Neuro Oncol 14(suppl 5):v1–v49.
- Johnson DR, O’neill BP. Glioblastoma survival in the United States before and during the temozolomide era. J Neurooncol. 2012;107(2):359-64.
- Mitchell DA, Xie W, Schmittling R, et al. Sensitive detection of human cytomegalovirus in tumors and peripheral blood of patients diagnosed with glioblastoma. Neuro-oncology. 2008;10(1):10-8.
- Mitchell DA, Batich KA, Gunn MD, et al. Tetanus toxoid and CCL3 improve dendritic cell vaccines in mice and glioblastoma patients. Nature. 2015;519(7543):366-9.
VBI Vaccines Inc. (“VBI”) is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel technologies that seek to expand vaccine protection in large underserved markets. VBI’s eVLP Platform allows for the design of enveloped (“e”) virus-like particle (“VLP”) vaccines that closely mimic the target virus. VBI’s lead eVLP asset is a prophylactic cytomegalovirus (“CMV”) vaccine; VBI has initiated work for GMP manufacturing of its CMV candidate for use in formal preclinical and Phase I trials. VBI’s second platform is a thermostable technology that enables the development of vaccines and biologics that can preserve vaccine potency and withstand storage or shipment at fluctuating temperatures. VBI has completed proof of concept thermostability studies on a number of vaccine and biologic targets. VBI is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with research facilities in Ottawa, Canada.
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