TapImmune Inc. has signed an exclusive Licensing Option agreement with Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, for clinical development of a breast cancer vaccine technology. The option to license this technology can be exercised after Phase I clinical trials under terms agreed between Mayo Clinic and TapImmune. Mayo Clinic will conduct a Phase I clinical trial in breast cancer patients who have a form of breast cancer that express Her2/neu receptors (also called Her2/neu breast cancer). Keith Knutson, M.D. will serve as Principal Investigator.
Her2/neu receptor related cancer is a very aggressive form of breast cancer that affects a subset of breast cancer patients. It is a well established therapeutic target, which helps our development goals from a regulatory standpoint. For example, Herceptin (a Her2/neu inhibitor by Genentech) is an approved drug with annual sales in excess of $4 Billion.
There are ongoing vaccine trials targeting Her2/neu. The major disadvantage (as we understand) of technologies that are currently in development are their inability to cover all or a majority of Her2/neu cancer patients and their ability for long-term protection. Some of them seem to be effective only in a subset of Her2/neu cancer patients due to the nature of the peptide epitopes used. Along with Mayo we believe this technology is could cover up to 90% of the Her2/neu patients and last a very long time (if not a life time), which is an improvement that could cover an additional 30% of the population who may not be covered by the other technologies that are currently in development.
Dr Glynn Wilson, Executive Chairman of TapImmune, stated, “The option to license this technology from Mayo Clinic represents a significant opportunity to add to our cancer vaccine portfolio and clinical research programs. We believe that this technology offers a number of advantages in the development of a breast cancer vaccine for a broad patient population
Mayo Clinic– Smallpox
TapImmune Inc. has a Sponsored Research & and Licensing Option Agreements with Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, for the development of a smallpox vaccine technology. Research will be conducted in the Vaccine Research Laboratory of Gregory Poland MD at Mayo Clinic to evaluate novel peptide antigens together with TapImmune’s proprietary TAP technology. TapImmune has also an exclusive Option to exercise the License the technology after research studies have been completed under terms agreed between Mayo Clinic and TapImmune.
Unlike current vaccination, which is a live virus approach, the technology of Dr. Poland attempts to use peptides to successfully vaccinate individuals. Even though smallpox was eradicated through worldwide vaccination in the latter part of 20th century, it is a feared bio-weapon that could have serious implications in a bio-terror scenario. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9-11-2001, there is a renewed interest in finding better vaccination approaches against diseases that could be used as bio-weapons. This is especially true in the case of smallpox due to its deadly nature. In addition, militaries of several countries, including US military, actively procure smallpox vaccine for use in military personnel.
The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation (www.aeras.org), one of the foremost non-profit Product Development Partnerships, is dedicated to the development of effective tuberculosis (TB) vaccine regimens that will prevent tuberculosis in all age groups and will be affordable, available and adopted worldwide. Aeras is funded primarily by government aid agencies and private foundations, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where it received in excess of $280 million to develop and license an improved vaccine against TB for use in high burden countries. The Gates Foundation, which has recently announced its intentions to double its spending on vaccines to at least $10 billion, as vaccines are the world’s most cost-effective public health measure. This massive spend by the Gates Foundation is to offer vaccines for routine childhood diseases and to also seek improvements on current vaccines as well as establish new ones to protect children in poor countries, where. TB continues to be rampant. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2007 there were an estimated 13.7 million chronic active cases of TB, 9.3 million new cases, and 1.8 million deaths from TB, mostly in developing countries.
Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation and TapImmune have entered into an R&D collaboration effort with an overall goal to evaluate the efficacy of TAP in concert with novel vaccine vectors encoding TB immunogens. Aeras is based in Rockville, Maryland, where it operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing and laboratory facility.