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| October 25, 2020

Genentech Pays $200M For Vaccibody’s Phase One Cancer Vaccine

Marina Turea

Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them. Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them.

The world of cancer research provides some great news as Genentech strikes a deal with Vaccibody to partner up on research. Genentech has secured a global license as part of the deal. The focus will be on neoantigen phase one cancer vaccines which Vaccibody has found great success within recent years.

This move comes after the announcement back in 2019 of Vaccibody’s success with their VB10.NEO following Phase I/IIa clinical trials. With additional funding, Genentech will now look to take the great work that their new partners have completed through its final stages.

Broader Background of These Two Companies

Genentech is a biotechnology corporation that was founded in 1976. Since then, the company has collaborated with a wide number of research institutes and drug development companies and created many commonly used products.

Results can vary, of course. Last month, we covered the story of Genentech’s disappointing results with a new drug aimed at ulcerative colitis. Given the work Vaccibody has already done this time around, however, this opportunity looks far more promising.

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Genentech became a subsidiary of Roche Group back in 2009, the Swiss pharma giant known for taking over hot companies. Indeed we just reported about the troubles Roche is having in its takeover of Spark Therapeutics.

Genentech’s partner Vaccibody is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that dedicates itself to both discovery and the development of novel immunotherapies. This company focuses heavily on targeted DNA vaccines, developed for clinical use.

 

Understanding the Finer Points of The Deal For Phase One Cancer Vaccine

This is a deal based on the development of neoantigen cancer therapies. These are the foundation of the work which Vaccibody has done with its product. This targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine will provide the springboard that will launch this deal in its search for a phase one cancer vaccine.

Says Vaccibody CEO Michael Engsig, “We are very excited to have entered into this transformative agreement that marks the start of a new era for Vaccibody. Genentech is widely recognized as one of the foremost leaders in leveraging the immune system to develop therapies for cancer and is a scientific pioneer within the neoantigen cancer vaccine space.”

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In this deal which is worth seven hundred and fifteen million dollars all told, with an initial two million paid up front, are milestone payments. There will also be royalties payable on the commercial sale of products. Engsig notes why Genentech was the best partnership choice.

They (Genentech) are therefore the partner of choice for the further development and commercialization of our innovative next-generation cancer vaccine platform for generating individualized therapies.”

Changing The Approach Towards Vaccine Research

Over the years there have been far fewer clinical trials of personalized cancer vaccines. This deal looks set to really turn this on its head. The DNA-based approach, using VB10.NEO to focus on individualized neoantigen cancers could have great results.

This vaccine targets a patient’s antigens of the patient that develop from mutations of their own tumor. This approach has generated interest for some time and now looks set to be rolled out further with this deal. In a statement, Vaccibody’s co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer Agnete B. Fredriksen says:

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“It is widely believed that the clinical use of cancer vaccines has been limited by the ability to efficiently present the antigens to the immune system and the limited insight into what constitutes clinically relevant antigens.”

“Vaccibody’s immunotherapy platform has been shown to address those challenges with preclinical and clinical data indicating induction of unique CD4+ and importantly CD8+ tumor-specific T cell responses against selected antigens essential for clinical responses.”

Investing The Money Elsewhere

Given the importance of research and development for Vaccibody, this money will be repurposed. The investment it receives for the phase one cancer vaccine is expected to be invested into more work on their VB10.16 product. Whilst still in the early stages, that product is being used currently in trials with cervical cancer patients.

For companies like Vaccibody, generating more money means continuing their great work focusing on their DNA-based approach. In turn, as those products find further success, Vaccibody will have an eye on further collaborations with biotech firms.

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The result, of course, is hopefully a wide range of phase one cancer vaccines being rolled out.


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