Onyvax are currently involved in the development of cancer vaccines, which are designed to elicit an immune attack on a broad range of targets associated with different types and stages of cancer.
Onyvax is developing cell vaccines for the treatment of cancer, based on proprietary cell lines from a range of common cancers such as those of the prostate, colon, breast and kidney.
The Company has derived banks of these cell lines, which express a broad range of known cancer-specific markers, as well as many targets that have yet to be identified. This is especially important when little is known of the repertoire of markers produced by certain types of cancer, as is the case with prostate cancer.
Because cancer cells also mutate rapidly, a drug or vaccine targeting only a single marker may not attack all the cells in a tumour, leading to resistance and rapid disease recurrence.
Under the terms of the agreement, Onyvax will use funding from the NBC Access Fund to take advantage of the development and manufacturing expertise of >Eden Biodesign to forward its Cell Vaccine program in ovarian cancer.
Eden was appointed to run the NBC, a £34.25m initiative to provide biomanufacturing facilities and development expertise to UK Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and academics.
"This agreement marks an important step in the development of Onyvax's pipeline," commented Anthony Walker of >Onyvax.
This ovarian cancer vaccine is based on the same technology as Onyvax-P, the company's lead product for prostate cancer that has generated encouraging results in Phase IIa clinical trials.
"We hope to roll out the technology to a range of other cancers over the next few years and hope to start clinical trials in ovarian cancer in 2007/2008," he added.
The NBC Access Fund is a £2.7 million fund launched by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), which will provide supporting finance for the programme, which will take place at the NBC in the UK. It is the first programme to be awarded financial support.
"We are delighted to be delivering genuine practical assistance to UK biotechs in meeting the stringent requirements for manufacture of clinical products through the support of the NBC programme," said Dr Linda Magee, NBC project director for NWDA.
"Onyvax has an exciting product technology that could in future deliver huge benefits to cancer patients worldwide."