Promising results in phase 1 trial lead immatics to continue work on vaccine (IMA950) for glioblastoma
A new cancer vaccine (IMA950) for glioblastoma has met the two primary endpoints of safety and immunogenicity in a trial conducted by Cancer Research UK
The decision is based on positive results from a phase 1 trial that was conducted under the Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) joint initiative of Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office (DDO) and Cancer Research Technology (CRT) as part of the charity's role in assessing new treatments of potential benefit to cancer patients.
IMA950 is a vaccine that uses 11 different HLA-restricted tumour-associated peptides (TUMAPs). The TUMAPs, identified by immatics using its proprietary drug discovery platform XPRESIDENT®, are known to be over-expressed on the surface of glioblastoma tumours. They trigger the patient's immune system to recognise and kill tumour cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
The IMA950 trial met the agreed primary endpoints of safety and immunogenicity in a phase 1 multicentre trial which was undertaken at seven Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres across the UK, led by the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow. 45 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma were treated with IMA950 in addition to standard of care, surgery and concomitant or adjuvant chemotherapy with temozolomide. Results showed that 90 per cent of patients responded to the vaccine, in comparison to the pre-defined goal of 60 per cent, exceeding expectations.
IMA950 is the first therapeutic vaccine developed under the CDP scheme. Under the scheme, companies retain rights to their drugs while allowing Cancer Research UK's DDO to undertake early clinical development work to assess the treatment's benefit to cancer patients.
Nine projects have been taken on under the CDP initiative with IMA950 being the first to complete a clinical trial and be taken forward by the company. immatics has paid CRT an undisclosed licensing fee for exclusive rights to the phase 1 clinical trial data and, provided IMA950 is successfully developed and commercialised, will pay further development milestones and downstream royalties.
Professor Roy Rampling, chief investigator for the study and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, said: "Brain tumours are a particularly difficult type of cancer to treat with conventional methods, but they have recently been accepted as a possible target for immunotherapy - increasingly recognised as a potentially important approach to treating cancer.
"In our study we investigated whether patients newly diagnosed with the most common and aggressive type of malignant brain tumour called glioblastoma could mount an appropriate immune response when given IMA950 and if the vaccine was safe. IMA950 was very simple to administer and was very well tolerated. Importantly, we were very pleased to see that nearly all patients mounted an immune response that could be detected in the blood, which is the first step in establishing clinical activity before determining patient benefit in subsequent studies."
Paul Higham, CEO of immatics, said: "I am delighted that we are in a position to take the development of IMA950 forward for the treatment of patients with glioblastoma. This is our third cancer vaccine to have shown promising results. There is clearly a high need for new therapies for glioblastoma, which is a very hard-to-treat cancer, with very poor survival rates. The DDO has been an excellent partner and we are very grateful for the work they have done in further characterising the positive attributes of IMA950."
Dr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK's director of the DDO, said: "We're extremely pleased that our collaboration with immatics has yielded positive phase 1 data with IMA950 and that through our Clinical Development Partnerships initiative we have been able to ensure it has the potential to reach patients sooner. Better treatment options for glioblastoma are badly needed and we hope that the potential of this novel approach will be confirmed in future clinical studies.
"Cancer Research UK is committed to playing a key role in the development of improved cancer therapies and we see collaborations with a broad range of partners, such as immatics, as critical to achieving this very important goal.""Cancer Research UK is committed to playing a key role in the development of improved cancer therapies and we see collaborations with a broad range of partners, such as immatics, as critical to achieving this very important goal."
About Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office
Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office has an impressive record of developing novel treatments for cancer. It currently has a portfolio of around 30 new anti-cancer agents in preclinical development, phase 1 or early phase 2 clinical trials. Since 1982, the Cancer Research UK Drug Development Office has taken over 120 potential new anti-cancer agents into clinical trials in patients, six of which have subsequently made it to market and many others are still in clinical development. Marketed drugs include Temozolomide (also known as Temodal®, Temodar and Temcad), a drug discovered by Cancer Research UK scientists, that is an effective new treatment for brain cancer, and Abiraterone Acetate (also known as Zytiga®) which was co-discovered by Cancer Research UK scientists to treat advanced prostate cancer. Six other drugs are in late development phase 3 trials. This rate of success is comparable to that of any pharmaceutical company.
About Cancer Research Technology
Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com.
About the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research
The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research is core-funded by Cancer Research UK and provides a dynamic, supportive and well-resourced environment for its basic and translational scientists. Its mission is to:
- Understand how cancer cells grow, survive and spread
- Identify critical components of these pathways as targets for novel cancer treatments
- Help translate this knowledge for the benefit of cancer patients
At the beginning of 2008 the Beatson Institute moved into a new state-of-the-art building - further information can be found at www.beatson.gla.ac.uk.
About the ECMC network
Conducting the majority of early-phase cancer clinical trials in the UK, experimental cancer medicine centres (ECMCs) provide infrastructure funding to enhance the quantity and quality of research in developing new medicines to help beat cancer. Each ECMC brings together lab-based experts in cancer biology with cancer doctors to speed up the flow of ideas from the lab bench to the patient's bedside. Launched in 2007, the network of 18 ECMCs is jointly supported by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research in England, and the Departments of Health of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who, together, have provided £35m from 2007-2012 and a further £35m from 2012 to 2017. Find out more at www.ecmcnetwork.org.uk.
About Cancer Research UK
- Cancer Research UK is the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
- Cancer Research UK's pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
- Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
- Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
- Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
- Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
immatics biotechnologies GmbH
immatics biotechnologies GmbH is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leading the development of advanced immunotherapies that are active against cancer. immatics' lead product, IMA901, is in a pivotal phase 3 study after completing a successful randomised phase 2 trial in renal cell carcinoma. immatics' pipeline also includes IMA910, which has reported encouraging overall survival data in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, and IMA950, which has completed a phase 1 study in patients with glioma. immatics' vaccines contain multiple tumour-associated peptides (TUMAPs) to maximize the chances of clinical success by increasing the number of targets on cancer cells that they address and are 'drug-like', i.e., fully synthetic, off-the-shelf, easily scalable, and stable.
immatics' unique and world-leading technology platform XPRESIDENT® discovers novel relevant cancer antigens known to be expressed on tumour cells. These TUMAPs constitute the basis for developing therapeutic cancer vaccines and other immunotherapies including peptide-targeting compounds such as antibodies, soluble T-cell receptors and adoptive cellular therapies. In contrast to widely used existing in silico and indirect methods to identify peptide antigens, immatics' TUMAPs are confirmed to be naturally expressed in primary cancer tissue.
immatics has a cancer vaccine and immunotherapy collaboration with Roche to research, clinical development and commercialisation of a number of new TUMAP-based cancer vaccine candidates and other immunotherapies, targeting primarily gastric, prostate and non-small cell lung cancer.
immatics is based in Tuebingen and Martinsried (Munich), Germany, and employs 80 people (FTEs).