Ongoing study is evaluating ability of vaccine to trigger antibodies against cancer cell ganglioside antigens.

MabVax Therapeutics has received a $1.8 million Phase 2 SBIR grant from the NCI to support a Phase II trial evaluating its trivalent sarcoma vaccine. The new award follows on from an initial $150,000 Phase 1 grant awarded in August 2010, to support manufacture and initial testing of the vaccine. The Phase II study is already under way at 10 clinical sites, and aims to enroll 134 metastatic sarcoma patients.

MabVax’s sarcoma vaccine is designed to trigger the production of antibodies against three sarcoma cell ganglioside antigens. The candidate was licensed from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in 2008, as part of a deal that included vaccine candidates targeting other neuroectodermal and epithelial cancers.

MabVax was founded to exploit MSKCC’s approach to the development of cancer vaccines against gangliosides and other carbohydrate antigens that are the most extensively expressed antigenic targets on the cell surface of certain cancers. The firm’s strategy is to develop polyvalent versions of already developed monovalent vaccines against small cell lung cancer, sarcoma, melanoma, and other cancers. At the same time, MabVax is generating a pipeline of fully human monoclonal antibody products against each of the target antigens, by using both the vaccines and the lymphocytes from successfully vaccinated patients participating in vaccine clinical trials.

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