Advaxis said today it has launched a research collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) designed to assess the immunologic and antitumor activity of patient tumor-specific, neoepitope-based immunotherapy.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed.

The My Immunotherapy Neo-Epitopes (MINE™) collaboration plans to use Advaxis’s Lm Technology™ to develop neoepitope immunotherapies based on an individual patient’s tumor (ADXS-NEO).

Lm—which uses bioengineered live attenuated Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) bacteria—has been shown in preclinical studies to both generate cancer fighting T-cells directed against a cancer antigen and neutralize Tregs and myeloid-derived suppressor cells that protect the tumor microenvironment from immunologic attack and contribute to tumor growth.

Advaxis's lead Lm Technology immunotherapy, axalimogene filolisbac, targets human papillomavirus-associated cancers, and is in clinical trials for three potential indications: Invasive cervical cancer (Phase II), head and neck cancer (Phase I/II), and anal cancer (also Phase I/II). The FDA has granted axalimogene filolisbac its orphan drug designation for all three indications.

Advaxis says its Lm Technology could potentially target all of a patient’s immunogenic cancer neoepitopes, eliminating the need to use predictive algorithms. The technology can enable the development of truly individualized immunotherapies that can be manufactured in a cost-effective and timely manner, the company reasons.

MINE will focus first on a preclinical study of Advaxis’s new construct approach to evaluate the immunologic effects and antitumor activity of a personalized immunotherapy in a mouse tumor model.

Advaxis said it will use what it learns from the collaboration to identify and target neoepitopes using Lm Technology, then develop patient-specific immunotherapy constructs that incorporate the neoepitope sequences identified in the patient’s tumor cells.

Clinical studies using ADXS-NEO will be conducted at MSK, and are now in development, according to Advaxis.

“Recent advances in genome sequencing have made it possible to investigate the role of neoepitopes, or unique mutations, in an individual patient’s cancer, which may allow for the development of specific immunotherapies that generate and enhance an immune response directed against the neoepitopes contained in a patient’s tumor,” Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., chief of melanoma and iImmunotherapeutics service at MSK’s Department of Medicine and Ludwig Center, said in a statement.