ISA Pharmaceuticals cancer trial using drug delivery technology  

Biotech ISA Pharmaceuticals has launched a clinical trial using its Amplivant adjuvant technology which will enable the delivery of a cancer vaccine in patients. 

The clinical trial, run by partner Scancell Holdings, is a multicentre clinical trial testing Scancell’s Modi-1 vaccine in patients with triple negative breast cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, and renal cancer.  

Scancell has developed a new class of potent and selective immunotherapy agents based on stress-induced post-translational modifications (siPTM). The company’s Modi-1 vaccine comprises three citrullinated peptides, two derived from vimentin and one from α-enolase; peptides from two different proteins have been combined in this way to reduce the possibility of tumour escape. 

ISA Pharmaceutical’s Amplivant platform will be used to deliver the vaccine in an attempt to boost the immune response of patients to the therapy.  

The initial part of the trial will assess the safety and immunogenicity of Modi-1. In addition, the effect of Modi-1 in promoting T-cell infiltration into the tumour will be assessed in a neoadjuvant cohort of patients with head and neck cancer treated with Modi-1, randomised to treatment with or without a checkpoint inhibitor, prior to the first surgical resection.  

Amplivant is a potent adjuvant and toll-like receptor (TLR) 1/2 agonist which has been developed to enhance the immune response 10-100fold, resulting in efficient tumour clearance, including protection against tumour recurrence, in preclinical models 

Official comments  

Professor Kees Melief, Chief Scientific Officer, ISA Pharmaceuticals, said: “Adjuvants are crucial components of vaccines which boost efficacy, however there is lack of new, innovative, and effective adjuvants in development to add to a limited armamentarium. As such this is an important achievement and highlights the productive collaboration, we have with Scancell. The trial provides a further opportunity to demonstrate the potent adjuvant properties that AMPLIVANT confers on therapeutic vaccines to potentially benefit patients with a broad range of solid tumours.”  

Professor Lindy Durrant, Chief Executive Officer, Scancell, added: “This is the first time we have taken a product from our Moditope platform into cancer patients and is a major step forward for Scancell and our collaboration with ISA Pharmaceuticals. We are very excited about the prospects for Modi-1 based on the dramatic regression of large tumours in our preclinical models.” 

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