EpiVax Launches Precision Cancer Immunotherapy Venture, EpiVax Oncology
Published: Sep 25, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the fields of immunogenicity assessment, vaccine design, and immune-engineering today announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., a company focused on the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in seed funding and has provided exclusive access to enabling technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. Gad Berdugo MSc Eng., MBA will lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over 25 years of biotechnology operational, strategic partnering and financial experience gained at Abbott, Baxter, and Lazard, as well as emerging cancer biotechnology companies.
EpiVax Oncology's approach to precision immunotherapy is based on mutated, tumor-specific epitopes, termed Neo-Epitopes, which generate highly potent specific T cell responses against a wide range of tumor types. The company uses genetic profiling (via NGS sequencing) to generate therapeutic vaccines customized for each cancer patient's unique tumor load. EpiVax Oncology vaccines can be used in combination with checkpoint inhibitors or potentially as single agents.
EpiVax Oncology's key competitive advantage is centered on a streamlined, validated, commercial-grade Neo-Epitope in silico discovery platform called Ancer. The Ancer platform is powered by EpiVax's EpiMatrix and JanusMatrix predictive algorithms and exclusively licensed to EpiVax Oncology for the field of cancer. Ancer identifies highly immunogenic, Class I and Class II, CD4 and CD8, T cell Neo-Epitopes while selecting out Treg-like epitopes. Candidate Neo-epitopes are qualified and ranked using a proprietary process designed to strengthen vaccine efficacy and decrease the incidence of immune-related adverse events. In head-to-head comparisons, Ancer is significantly better at Neo-Epitope identification than public or academic platforms.
"Ancer is setting EpiVax Oncology apart from emerging companies such as Neon Therapeutics, Gritstone Oncology and BioNtech. EpiVax Oncology will leverage EpiVax's world class excellence in computational immunology, genomics and vaccine design, built over the last 20 years, to create safe, effective, and affordable immunotherapies. We are committed to delivering on the promise of precision medicine," said Gad Berdugo.
CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT: EpiVax Oncology is initially preparing for Phase 1b clinical trials in bladder cancer and melanoma using Ancer-derived Neo-Epitopes formulated in a proprietary clinically-tested delivery vehicle. The first trials are planned to start in 2018.
CAPITAL RAISE: EpiVax Oncology is a fully independent company currently conducting a $2M bridge capital raise to prepare for an IND as well as a $10M to $25M Series A financing to fund the first-in-man clinical trials.
ABOUT EPIVAX: EpiVax, Inc. is a privately-held biotechnology company focused on the development of vaccines and immunotherapies mainly for infectious diseases and autoimmunity. Led by Annie S. De Groot, M.D., an internationally recognized vaccine design thought leader, and William Martin, chief architect of the EpiMatrix Epitope Discovery Platform, EpiVax has enjoyed significant success in the fields of immunology and bioinformatics.
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Anne S. De Groot MD
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SOURCE EpiVax, Inc.