PCI Biotech won a NOK 13.8 million (approximately $1.65 million) BIA grant from the Research Council of Norway to support a clinical study evaluating the use of its photochemical internalization (PCI) to improve the efficacy of therapeutic cancer vaccination. The 3.5-year project, “Photochemical vaccination—novel immunotherapy concept for treatment of cancer and infectious diseases,” also aims to develop PCI technology for infectious disease vaccination and for use with messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccines.
The PCI technology exploits the firm’s light-activated fimaporfin (Amphinex®) drug to aid the release of endosome-encapsulated anticancer therapeutics in target cancer cells. PCI Biotech is developing the technology to boost the efficacy of chemotherapy, immuno-oncology, and nucleic-acid based cancer treatments.
The lead fimaChem program has completed a Phase I study in the orphan indication of bile duct cancer. Just last month PCI Biotech said the FDA had given the go-ahead to include U.S. patients in a Phase II clinical program evaluating fimaporfin in the treatment of inoperable bile duct cancer. PCI Biotech’s fimaVacc program is in early clinical development, and the nucleic acid program fimaNAc is in preclinical development.
Commenting on the Research Council of Norway funding, Per Walday, PCI CEO, stated, “This grant supports further development of the promising fimaVacc technology, as well as the important vaccination application of the fimaNAc technology. Both of these applications are well suited for the development of new types of immunotherapy against cancer, and also for the prevention and treatment of some types of infectious diseases, including certain types of chronic virus infections.”
Also in December 2016, PCI Biotech reported that an ongoing fimaNAc collaboration with a top-10 pharma company had been extended until the end of 2Q 2017. And again last month, PCI Biotech announced a preclinical research collaboration with Belgian VUB spin-out eTheRNA immunotherapies to evaluate fimaVAc in combination with eTheRNA’s mRNA-based immunotherapeutic TriMix technology. A preclinical cancer immunotherapy collaboration between PCI Biotech, BioNTech, and the University of Zurich was initiated in September 2016.