Imugene Limited’s (ASX:IMU) shares are trading circa 21% higher intra-day at $0.017 following early promise in gastric cancer clinical trial for its HER-Vaxx cancer vaccine (IMU-131).
HER-Vaxx is a next generation HER2 cancer therapy using B cell peptides, which harness the body’s ability to develop antibodies against the disease.
Imugene’s latest clinical results indicate that IMU-131 induces strong immune responses in patients with metastatic gastric cancer, with antibodies to the target cancer biomarker strongly evident in validated assays.
Importantly, clinicians have reported no safety, toxicity or tolerability issues with HER-Vaxx during the first cohort dosing of patients.
Dose escalation recommended
The cohort review committee for the study has reviewed the results and has recommended dose escalation.
The clinicians at eight sites across Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand will determine if the administration of HER-Vaxx in combination with chemotherapy will prolong survival, delay tumour progression, or reduce the tumour burden in patients with metastatic gastric cancer.
Multi-billion dollar market
HER-Vaxx works by targeting the same receptor as Herceptin and Perjeta, two leading antibody drugs marketed by Roche, with annual sales of US$8.2 billion.
Unlike Herceptin and Perjeta, which are “injected synthetic antibody” products, HER-Vaxx activates the patient’s own immune system to produce a continuous supply of cancer targeting antibodies and induce a response against the tumours.
The early clinical data for HER-Vaxx is encouraging, indicating immune activation in vaccinated patients in a manner that is consistent with the vaccine’s postulated mechanism of action.