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Dec 18, 2012

NCI Grants MabVax $150K for Neuroblastoma Vaccine

  • MabVax Therapeutics received an SBIR grant from the NCI. The initial grant award of $150,000 will support the manufacture and testing of the company’s neuroblastoma vaccine, which the company is preparing for a Phase II clinical trial planned for 2013. Neuroblastoma is the most common extra-cranial solid tumor in children.

    A Phase I clinical trial with the neuroblastoma vaccine has recently been completed with promising results in a limited number of patients, MabVax reports. The vaccine is designed to instruct the patient’s immune system to make antibodies against three antigens present on the surface of neuroblastoma cells. The antibodies then seek out and eliminate residual circulating cancer cells and micrometastases with the aim of preventing recurrent disease.

    The vaccine was developed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where preclinical and early clinical development work was completed. Stemming from a deal inked in 2008, MabVax has an exclusive license to the neuroblastoma vaccine, along with additional vaccines targeting other cancers.

    “There is a significant medical need to develop new therapies aimed at preventing recurrent disease in this childhood cancer,” noted David Hansen, CEO of MabVax. “While the initial grant is modest and covers only a portion of the manufacturing costs, it is a very important step to potential additional funding of up to $1 million under the second phase of the grant, which the company would use to offset clinical trial costs,” he added.

    This is not the first grant that MabVax has won from NCI. Last year, the firm received a $1.8 million phase 2 SBIR grant to support a Phase II trial evaluating its trivalent sarcoma vaccine. The award followed an initial $150,000 phase 1 grant awarded in 2010 to support manufacture and initial testing of the vaccine.

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