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(Oslo, June 6, 2013) Cancer vaccine specialist Targovax today announced that it has raised a total of $3.6 million to accelerate development of its RAS mutation-targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine pipeline, specifically lead candidate TG01 for pancreatic cancer. The funds comprise $2.3 million in public support from the Norwegian Research Council’s BIA programme and $1.3 million from existing and new investors, including the Radium Hospital Research Foundation, Algot Invest and Trygve Schiørbeck.
Targovax was established in October in 2010 to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines based on pioneering researchinto RAS mutations in the Norwegian Radium Hospital and Norsk Hydro in the late 90s. Mutation of RAS disrupts normal cell division signaling and contributes to development of cancer cells and tumors. RAS mutations are found in approximately 25% of all cancers and in particular in pancreatic cancer (80-90%), colorectal cancer (40%) and non-small cell lung cancers (30%). Lead candidate, TG01 has already been granted orphan drug status in the EU and US and is currently in Phase I/II pancreatic cancer trials at Oslo University Hospital and the Radium Hospital in Norway.
Hanne Mette D Kristensen, CEO of Targovax said that the news funds will be used to accelerate the clinical programme and in particular focus on improved formulations of TG01 with adjuvant: “The solid public and private support enables us to continue development of innovative immunotherapy targeting RAS mutated cancers. The BIA grant is recognition of the quality of work we are performing in this growing field of cancer vaccines. We expect first results from the TG01 Phase I/II study by the end of 2013 and will be looking to raise a further $5.5 million during the fall to complete development of TG01 and prepare for Phase III-studies.”
Richard Hayhurst, cell phone: +44 7711 821 527
Hanne Mette D. Kristensen, CEO, cell phone: +47 97 19 74 49
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web page www.targovax.com
Targovax is a cancer biotech-company started in October 2010 to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines. TG01 is being developed for pancreatic cancer as its firstindication. TG01 is based on clinical research from the 1990s by Oslo University Hospital and Norsk Hydro. The drug has been investigated in patients with promising results. TG01 has been granted Orphan Drug Status for pancreatic cancer in both EU and USA. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.
Cancer vaccine / immunotherapy
The Norwegian cancer research community has been in the forefront of understanding the mechanisms for immunotherapy and cancer vaccines. A cancer vaccine educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells. The TG01 vaccine is therapeutic, ie it is given as treatment to patients who already have cancer.
Pancreas cancer and other RAS-mutated cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer is a disease affecting 116 000 patients each year in EU and USA, and approximately 690 persons each year in Norway. Approx 15-20% of these are discovered at an early stage and are operable. The mortality is high, and the prognosis for these patients has been more or less unchanged the last 30 years. Costs related to treatment of pancreatic cancer are high, despite the fact that current treatment has a low effect. Approximately 80-90% of patients with pancreatic cancer have RAS mutations in the cancer cells. In addition, RAS mutations are frequent in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Patients with RAS mutations within these indications have proved to be difficult to treat with current treatments, and there is a significant unmet medical need.
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