IVT’s DepoVax will initially be tested with Scancell’s preclinical cancer vaccine.

ImmunoVaccine Technologies (IVT) entered an agreement with Scancell to explore the potential of using IVT’s DepoVax™ delivery system with Scancell’s ImmunoBody® DNA vaccines. Scancell says that it is concentrating on cancer and infectious diseases and has one preclinical-stage cancer vaccine, expected to enter clinical development early next year.

“Our DepoVax technology has the potential to better deliver DNA vaccines to draining lymph nodes to produce high levels of immune response using conventional immunization techniques,” explains Marc Mansour, M.D., vp of R&D at IVT. 

“IVT’s DepoVax represents a potentially attractive future delivery system for our ImmunoBody DNA vaccines, especially those for certain infectious diseases where alternative delivery methods such as electroporation may be less suitable,” adds David Evans, chairman of Scancell.

DepoVax is a vaccine-enhancement and delivery platform comprising liposomes, adjuvants, and oil. It is designed to enhance immunogenicity of antigens in general and can be used to improve the delivery of polynucleotide-based antigens and siRNAs to lymph nodes. IVT reports that it has the necessary scale-up capabilities at a contract manufacturing plant to support commercialization.

Scancell’s first cancer vaccine, SCIB1, is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and will enter clinical trials using electroporation technology in early 2010, according to the company. SCIB1 is a plasmid DNA that encodes a human antibody molecule engineered to express a melanoma antigen called tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP2) plus two helper T-cell epitopes.

The major advantage of the ImmunoBody technology is that the Fc component of the engineered antibody will be recognized by the high-affinity CD64 receptor present on dendritic cells, leading to an enhancement of both the frequency and avidity of the T-cell immune response, according to Scancell. The induction of high-avidity T cells against TRP2 is expected to lead to the inhibition and regression of both primary and metastatic tumor growth.

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