Immunovaccine Inc.
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Immunovaccine Inc.

June 02, 2016 07:05 ET

Immunovaccine Announces Preclinical Collaboration for DepoVax™-Based Malaria Vaccine

Initial Study Conducted With The University of Edinburgh to Examine Vaccine Candidate's Effects on Malaria Parasites Linked to Most Severe Form of the Disease

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - June 2, 2016) - Immunovaccine Inc. ("Immunovaccine" or the "company") (TSX:IMV)(OTCQX:IMMVF), a clinical stage vaccine and immunotherapy company, today announced a preclinical collaboration with The University of Edinburgh's Center for Immunity, Infection and Evolution (CIIE). The study will explore if novel CIIE-identified targets, when formulated in the DepoVax™ delivery system, provide immunogenic responses against parasites that cause life-threatening malaria. The collaborators expect to present data later this year.

Malaria is a parasitic disease in which the infection is transferred via bites by Anopheles mosquitoes. The World Malaria Report 2015, released by the World Health Organization (WHO), estimated that there were 214 million new cases of malaria worldwide in 2015, resulting in 438,000 deaths.

While there are multiple forms of malaria, this study focuses specifically on the most deadly presentation, in which infected red blood cells stick together, forming clusters within small blood vessels. This process, known as 'rosetting,' can result in hypoxia, organ damage, and can contribute to death.

"Our DepoVax™ platform has a strong track record against a range of deadly infectious diseases, and its sustained delivery system and ability to support multiple antigens make it ideally suited to help address the global health threat posed by malaria as well," said Marianne Stanford, PhD, Director of Research at Immunovaccine. "We are fortunate to work with Professor Alexandra Rowe and her team at CIIE, who have done tremendous work in identifying novel, effective targets across a range of deadly malarial pathogens. With severe malaria being a serious health concern, an effective vaccine that can address the rosetting process has the potential to have a significant positive impact on global malaria mortality rates."

The University of Edinburgh team, led by malaria researcher J. Alexandra Rowe, D Phil, Professor of Molecular Medicine, identified the parasitic proteins that play a critical role in binding to human blood cells, resulting in the rosetting process seen in the most virulent form of the disease.

"Our lab has worked over the past several years to better understand the processes leading to the severe forms of malaria," said Prof. Rowe. "Working with Immunovaccine and their DepoVax™ system, we now have an effective way of targeting the antigens related to the most lethal forms of the infection. The goal is to block these processes that are most likely to result in death from this disease."

Malaria is still one of the major causes of preventable death in the world. The WHO's World Malaria Report 2015 reported that children under five are particularly susceptible to malaria illness, infection and death. In 2015, malaria was responsible globally for 306,000 deaths of children under the age of five. Malaria is caused by a parasite of the Plasmodium species (either Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax are most common), which enter the human circulatory system via bites by Anopheles mosquitoes. Currently, there is no vaccine on the market to prevent life-threatening malaria, which is mostly caused by Plasmodium falciparum.

"While our development work in immuno-oncology continues, our infectious disease strategy remains to identify opportunities where our DepoVax™ platform can deliver high value to researchers and, ultimately, patients," said Frederic Ors, Chief Executive Officer of Immunovaccine. "This work with The University of Edinburgh in malaria is an important step in our work to deploy DepoVax™ in a timely, precise and advantageous manner in areas of high unmet medical need."

About DepoVax™

DepoVax™ is a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens plus adjuvant to the immune system, resulting in a strong, specific and sustained immune response with the potential for single-dose effectiveness. The DepoVax™ platform is flexible and can be used with a broad range of target antigens for preventative or therapeutic applications. The technology is designed to be commercially scalable, with the potential for years of shelf life stability. Fully synthetic, off-the-shelf DepoVax™-based vaccines are also relatively easy to manufacture, store, and administer. This would enable Immunovaccine to pursue vaccine candidates in cancer, infectious diseases and other vaccine applications.

About Immunovaccine

Immunovaccine Inc. develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the Company's DepoVax™ platform, a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens and adjuvant to the immune system. Immunovaccine has advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase 1 human clinical trials and is currently conducting a Phase 2 study with its lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, in recurrent lymphoma. DPX-Survivac is expected to enter additional Phase 2 clinical studies in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma (brain cancer). In collaboration with commercial and academic partners, Immunovaccine is also expanding the application of DepoVax™ as an adjuvanting platform for vaccines targeted against infectious diseases. Immunovaccine's goal in infectious diseases is to out-license its DepoVax™ platform to partners to generate earlier revenues. Connect at www.imvaccine.com.

About The Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution (CIIE), The University of Edinburgh

CIIE is a centre for cross-disciplinary research across the broad scope of infectious disease, capturing the full potential for synergy between molecular, genetic, mathematical and evolutionary biology. Together this provides a platform for new insights, approaches and models for infectious diseases, which are being applied to address major challenges in global health today. http://ciie.bio.ed.ac.uk/

Immunovaccine Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking information under applicable securities law. All information that addresses activities or developments that we expect to occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made. However, they should not be regarded as a representation that any of the plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to risks affecting the Company, including access to capital, the successful completion of clinical trials and receipt of all regulatory approvals. Immunovaccine Inc. assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements in this press release except as required by law.

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