Imugene Limited tapping breast cancer market via oncolytic virus CHECKvacc

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Imugene Limited tapping breast cancer market via oncolytic virus CHECKvacc

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Imugene continuing with CHECKvacc trial
Image source: Imugene’s November 2021 Newsletter

Highlights

  • There is a desperate need for novel therapies to improve the clinical outcome of TNBC.
  • Imugene expects CHECKvacc to provide an improved outcome for women diagnosed with TNBC each year.
  • Last year, the City of Hope® dosed the second patient in the Phase I clinical trial of CHECKvacc.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer, which is primarily treated with chemotherapy with high toxicity. It is considered aggressive as it grows quickly and is more likely to have spread by the time it is diagnosed and, unfortunately, more likely to return post treatment.

As TNBC rapidly develops resistance to chemotherapy, there is a desperate need for novel therapies to improve the clinical outcome of TNBC. Australia based clinical stage immuno-oncology player Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU) is addressing the unmet need of patients living with TNBC through its oncolytic virus CHECKvacc.

Do Not Miss: Imugene growing by leaps and bounds while advancing novel technology platforms

CHECKvacc (CF33-hNIS-antiPDL1) is a novel chimeric orthopoxvirus with strong anti-cancer activity, including TNBC xenografts. The Company expects CHECKvacc to provide an improved outcome for several women who are diagnosed with TNBC each year.

Huge market opportunity

As per National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), breast cancer diagnoses have increased by 36 per cent over the last 10 years. In fact, breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia, with about 20,000 individuals diagnosed over the past 12 months. Moreover, 1 in 7 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Imugene’s opportunities in breast cancer marketl

NBCF further states about 15 per cent of breast cancers are known as “triple negative”, and approximately 3,000 Australians die due to breast cancer each year. Here, triple negative means they do not have any of the three validated and well-known receptors commonly found on breast cancer cells.

Also Read: Imugene doses first patient in Phase 1 clinical trial of CHECKvacc

Currently, there is no effective targeted therapy in patients with metastatic TNBC, apart from tumours with germline BRCA mutation, which shows TNBC as an area of unmet need. As treatment options for TNBC are limited, Imugene’s oncolytic virotherapy CHECKvacc is aimed at providing an improved alternative. CHECKvacc’s advantage is that it directly delivers anti PD-L1, which allows the immune system to continue to recognise and kill cancer cells.

Phase I clinical trial in progress

Imugene is progressing with the Phase I clinical trial of CHECKvacc, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Yuan - MD PhD and a noted breast cancer specialist. The trial aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy and determine the recommended Phase II dosage for intra-tumoural administration of CHECKvacc against metastatic TNBC.

Imugene’s CHECKVacc trial design

In December 2021, the City of Hope® dosed the second patient in the Phase I clinical trial of oncolytic virotherapy candidate CHECKvacc. The Company dosed its second patient immediately after the FDA specified 28-day stagger between patient dosing.

Related Article: Imugene doses second patient in Phase I clinical trial of CHECKvacc, shares tick up

This is a dose-escalation study in which patients receive CHECKvacc intratumourally on days 1 and 15. The treatment repeats in every 28 days for up to three cycles in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Following the completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at 30 days, then every three months for one year.

Although oncolytic viruses offer promise in treating multiple cancers, CHECKvacc is targeting TNBC first, as Imugene believes there are limited treatment options for such patients. Meanwhile, there is immense opportunity in the breast cancer market for Imugene as breast cancer cases continue to rise in Australia.

Imugene shares are trading at A$0.290 as of 2:36 PM AEDT.

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