Scancell Holdings plc, the parent company of Scancell Limited (`Scancell'), the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on its patented ImmunoBody(tm) platform, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a £250,000 Grant for Research and Development (`GRD') by the East Midlands Development Agency (`emda'). The GRD will be used towards the costs of progressing Scancell's SCIB1 ImmunoBody DNA vaccine as it commences Good Manufacturing Practice (`GMP') production in 1Q2009 and applies for Clinical Trial Authorisation (`CTA') to commence clinical trials of SCIB1 in the UK in 1Q2010.
Scancell is developing SCIB1, a DNA vaccine for the potential treatment of late-stage melanoma cancer patients. There are 8000 new cases of melanoma every year in the UK with 1800 deaths per year. Early stage melanoma is often cured by surgery but advanced disease has a very poor prognosis with late stage (stage IV) disease having a median survival of approximately 6 months. SCIB1 was developed using Scancell's ImmunoBody(tm) technology and is engineered to express the TRP-2 and gp100 cytotoxic T-cell epitopes from tumour antigens. In animal models, SCIB1 prevented the development of lung metastases and significantly inhibited the growth of established tumours.
The emda grant will be used to help fund the preparatory programme for phaseI/ IIa clinical trials that are anticipated to commence in 2010. The programme includes: optimisation of the ImmunoBody(tm); GMP process manufacture, formulation, stability and scale-up; pre-clinical efficacy and safety testing, and; toxicological assessment. The data derived from these studies will be utilised by Scancell in order to obtain CTA to allow the first clinical trial of SCIB1 in melanoma patients.
emda is one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England, set up in 1999 to bring a regional focus to economic development. Its primary goal is to increase the economic growth of the region while reducing disparities between the East Midlands and other English regions. The key role of emda is to be the strategic driver of sustainable economic development, working in partnership with public, private and voluntary organisations to deliver the goals of the Regional Economic Strategy.
David Evans, Chairman of Scancell, commented:
"We are delighted to have received a £250,000 grant from emda, the proceeds of which will be used to further progress SCIB1 and to further explore the manifold opportunities we expect that our ImmunoBody(tm) platform will present for the treatment of cancer, and other serious diseases. We are also pleased to be recognised by emda as a contributor to the economic growth prospects of the East Midlands region and appreciate the support that emda is providing towards building our business and the successful development of our innovative technology."
John O'Reilly, Business Support Director at emda, commented:
"Scancell is just the kind of innovative company that we are looking to support through the Grant for Research and Development. The grant will help it to develop a revolutionary new treatment which will not only help thousands of people affected by cancer, but which will also enable the business to develop and grow, creating new jobs for the region."
The Directors of the issuer accept responsibility for this announcement.