We are rapidly advancing our next-generation of immuno-oncology candidates. Leveraging our MVA-BN platform technology, we aim to activate a targeted immune response, arming the body’s own immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells.
Providing the body with as many weapons as possible significantly increases its chances to eradicate the disease. This tactic include: priming antigen-specific T cell activation; inducing T cell expansion, migration, and invasion into tumor sites; modifying tumor microenvironments to allow T cell function and killing; induction of natural killer cells to account for tumor cells that cannot be recognized by T cells; and overcoming T cell inhibitory (checkpoint) signals.
Our strategy is to incorporate as many of these tools as possible in order to produce safe, potent and sustained anticancer activity in common and rare solid tumors.
We have strengthened our two most advanced immuno-oncology candidates, CV301 and BN-Brachyury, by refining them to target antigens, CEA, MUC1 and brachyury, that are overexpressed on numerous solid tumors. These changes have led to CV301 demonstrating T cell activation against the target antigens in about 90% of vaccinated patients. CV301 and BN-Brachyury also benefit from an augmented dosing regimen of 2 priming doses in 4 different areas (as compared with prior constructs), which appears to increase the quantity of antigen-specific T cells in vaccinated patients.
Preclinical data with similar constructs indicates CV301 may provide even further benefit when used with checkpoint inhibitors, which would allow those activated T cells to invade into tumors and kill tumor cells more efficiently by overcoming known mechanisms of T cell suppression at the leading edge of the tumor. Combining CV301 and BN-Brachyury with other therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors, radiation and chemotherapy, is believed to amplify the body’s ability to recognize, infiltrate and kill cancer cells.
The evolution of the Bavarian Nordic’s immuno-oncology platform has expanded into developing innovative delivery methods for its drug candidates. Intra-tumoral (directly into the tumor) injections and intravenous administrations are promising approaches that stand to utilize broader aspects of the immune response while improving T cell activation and function. Both of these new approaches are expected to enter the clinic in 2019.