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GEN News Highlights : Nov 4, 2013

CRI, Ludwig to Test Cancer Immunotherapy Combinations with CureVac

CureVac is collaborating with Cancer Research Institute (CRI) and Ludwig Cancer Research (Ludwig) to enable clinical testing of novel cancer immunotherapy treatment options involving CureVac's RNActive® vaccines.

Per the agreement, Ludwig and CRI will conduct up to five clinical studies of cancer immunotherapy combinations through their CVC Trials Network using CureVac's investigational drug, CV9202, combined with other agents to which CRI and Ludwig have access via their internal portfolios or through additional industry partnerships. More clinical-stage drugs from CureVac's product pipeline can also be added.

CV9202, according to CureVac, is being developed for the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It consists of six RNActive-derived molecules coding for six different NSCLC-associated antigens and is the successor of CV9201, which CureVac says successfully completed a Phase I/IIa trial. 

Adam Kolom, managing director of CRI's nonprofit venture fund, said in a statement that the collaboration with CureVac is actually the fourth in a series of partnerships CRI and Ludwig have struck with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to speed up the process of bringing next-generation combination immunotherapies into clinical studies. One such collaboration was made with MedImmune in October of 2012, which evaluated combinations of cancer immunotherapies—including MedImmune’s antibody candidates tremelimumab, anti-OX40, and anti-B7-H1 (MED14736)—together with other agents available to the CRI/Ludwig portfolio or accessed through partnerships.

"Each of our partnerships increases investigator access to one or more high-promise immune reagents and brings new and potentially more effective combination treatments to patients," Kolom added.