Scancell and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are working on the development of the former’s cancer vaccine, SCIB2, which is being explored for the treatment of patients with solid tumours.
In pre-clinical studies, the partners tested whether the virus could be administered as a liposomal nanoparticle, as an alternative to the use of electroporation. The results saw the nanodelivery method to transport ‘potent’ immune responses and prolonged survival.
The partners believe that the vaccine, which targets an antigen called NY-ESO-1, could be used in a variety of solid tumours that express the peptide, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian and prostate cancer.
The drug candidate’s ability to target this antigen could see it be used as a monotherapy or alongside checkpoint inhibitors.
Cliff Holloway, CEO of Scancell, commented: “We are delighted to announce this important milestone in our partnership with CRUK, which moves us one step closer to entering the clinic. This new nanoparticle approach to deliver SCIB2 is expected to achieve results that are as effective as, or even better than, electroporation.”
The clinical partnership between Scancell and CRUK sees the former have the option to acquire SCIB2 outright once Phase I/II trials are concluded.
As part of the current deal, CRUK will fund the candidate’s progression through to Phase I/II trial completion, as well as manufacture the clinical trial supplies.
The two partners have also worked together on Scancell’s lead drug candidate, SCIB1, which was recently given UK regulatory approval to begin Phase II trials for advanced melanoma.
This marks progress for Scancell, which experienced an issue in Phase I/II trials for the vaccine when the trial was extended to investigate higher doses, only for clinical trial material to pass its shelf life – leading to the trial being halted.