Scancell Holdings Plc, the parent company of Scancell Limited (‘Scancell’), the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on its patented ImmunoBody® platform, is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement with Ichor Medical Systems (‘Ichor’) to use Ichor’s TriGrid™ electroporation device for the delivery of SCIB1, Scancell’s innovative ImmunoBody® DNA vaccine for melanoma.
In vivo electroporation is a promising means of enhancing the potency of DNA vaccines. Ichor’s TriGrid™ Delivery System uses electroporation to dramatically increase the intracellular delivery of the DNA vaccine at the site of administration, enhancing potency over 100 times compared to conventional methods of delivery. In patients Ichor’s advanced, push-button electroporation system minimises operator error and ensures the safe, rapid, effective and reproducible administration of DNA from one patient to another. Scancell is confident that TriGrid™ will provide the most effective delivery system for its SCIB1 melanoma vaccine as it enters the first phase of its clinical trials. Under the agreement Ichor will supply the TriGrid™ device for Scancell’s forthcoming pre-clinical and clinical studies with SCIB1 and has given Scancell an Option to license TriGrid™ for commercial use on payment of certain undisclosed milestones and royalties. The Option may be exercised at any time over the next five years. In return Ichor has been granted options to subscribe for Scancell shares, at the subscription price paid during Scancell’s next scheduled round of funding, as follows: on regulatory approval to start clinical trials in the UK, 1% of the issued share capital; on starting the first Phase II clinical trial, 2% of the issued share capital and; on completing the first Phase II clinical trial, 2% of the issued share capital.
Scancell’s first cancer vaccine SCIB1 is scheduled to start clinical trials in 2010.
David Evans, chairman of Scancell, commented:
“Scancell is delighted to be collaborating with Ichor on SCIB1. We believe that the use of TriGrid™ to deliver SCIB1 in the forthcoming clinical trials programme will optimise our vaccine’s therapeutic potential in melanoma patients”. Robert Bernard, president and CEO of Ichor stated: “The agreement with Scancell provides an excellent opportunity for Ichor. Scancell’s unique ImmunoBody® vaccine platform is capable of enhancing immune response by both quantitative and qualitative measures. We look forward to clinical testing of the SCIB1 melanoma vaccine candidate as an initial demonstration of the therapeutic potential of Scancell’s ImmunoBody® vaccines administered with Ichor’s TriGrid™ delivery technology.”
The Directors of the issuer accept responsibility for this announcement.
For Further Information:
Professor Lindy Durrant
Scancell Holdings Plc + 44 207 245 1100
Adam Reynolds/Vikki Krause
Hansard Group + 44 7515 922906
Zeus Capital + 44 (0)161 831 151
Scancell is developing novel therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases based on its groundbreaking ImmunoBody® technology platform. Scancell’s first cancer vaccine SCIB1 is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and will enter clinical trials in early 2010. Treating cancer by vaccination allows small non-toxic doses of a vaccine to be administered to a patient, stimulating an immune response. Effective cancer vaccines need to target dendritic cells to stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system; the helper cell system where inflammation is stimulated at the tumour site; and the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte or CTL response where immune system cells are primed to recognise and kill specific cells. A limitation of many cancer vaccines currently in development is that they cannot specifically target dendritic cells in vivo. Several groups have demonstrated successful vaccination by growing dendritic cells ex vivo, pulsing them with tumour antigens and re-infusing them. However, this procedure is patient specific, time consuming and expensive. Scancell has developed its breakthrough patent protected ImmunoBody® technology to overcome these limitations. An ImmunoBody® is a DNA vaccine encoding a human antibody or fusion protein engineered to express helper cell and CTL epitopes from tumour antigens over-expressed by cancer cells. Antibodies are ideal vectors for carrying T cell epitopes from tumour antigens as they can effectively target dendritic cells via their Fc receptors, allowing efficient stimulation of high avidity and high frequency helper and CTL responses. The Immunobody® technology can be adapted to provide the basis for treating any tumour type and may also be of potential utility in the development of vaccines against hepatitis, HIV and other chronic infectious diseases.
Ichor Medical Systems’ TriGrid™ Delivery System is the first integrated and fully automated system for electroporation-mediated DNA administration. Ichor, a privately-held biotech company based in San Diego, CA, is collaborating with partners on three continents in a wide range of studies to test the TriGrid™ as an enabling platform for delivery of DNA drugs and vaccines to treat diseases such as pandemic flu, hepatitis, HIV, melanoma, multiple sclerosis, and others. The TriGrid™ is also being tested by the U.S. military as an efficient means of delivering anti-bioterrorism agents. Ichor’s current research partners include Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Bayhill Therapeutics, Genexine, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Pasteur Institute, Pharmexa-Epimmune, Rockefeller University, The Scripps Research Institute, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO).