Scancell Holdings Plc, (PLUS:SCLP), the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines, is pleased to announce it has signed a worldwide non-exclusive licensing agreement with the National Institutes of Health (‘NIH’), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for use of the melanoma antigens TRP-2 and gp100, developed in the laboratory of Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., at the National Cancer Institute. These antigens will be utilized as key components of Scancell’s lead ImmunoBody® vaccine for melanoma, SCIB1.
Under the agreement, Scancell has agreed to pay the US Public Health Service an undisclosed upfront fee in addition to certain milestone fees and a royalty on future sales of SCIB1. Scancell will have the right to develop and commercialise its ImmunoBody® vaccines for the treatment of melanoma in humans incorporating epitopes from these targets.
ImmunoBody® vaccines generate the high-avidity T-cells that kill cancer cells, which may overcome the current limitations of most cancer vaccines. Scancell is expected to commence its Phase I clinical trials for SCIB1 in Q2 2010.
David Evans, Chairman of Scancell, commented:
“This agreement strengthens Scancell’s IP position around SCIB1 and enables the Company to move forward towards its proposed clinical trials of the melanoma vaccine.”
The Directors of the issuer accept responsibility for this announcement.
For further information contact:
David Evans, Chaiman - Scancell Holdings Plc - +44 (0)774 008 4452
Professor Lindy Durrant, CEO - Scancell Holdings Plc - +44 (0)207 245 1100
John Bick/Kirsty Corcoran - Hansard Communications - +44 (0)207 245 1100
Ross Andrews/Tom Rowley - Zeus Capital - +44 (0)161 831 1512
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 is expected to enter clinical trials in 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 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 have long half-lives and can effectively target dendritic cells via their Fc receptors, allowing efficient stimulation of both 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.