HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 11, 2016) - Immunovaccine Inc. ("Immunovaccine" or the "company") (TSX:IMV)(OTCQX:IMMVF), a clinical stage vaccine and immunotherapy company, today announced that renowned malarial researcher J. Alexandra Rowe, D Phil, of The University of Edinburgh, presented topline preclinical data for Immunovaccine's DepoVax™-based malarial vaccine at the World Vaccine Congress Europe in Barcelona, Spain on October 10, 2016. Results from studies in mice, conducted in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution (CIIE), indicated that the novel CIIE-identified targets, when formulated in the DepoVax™ targeting platform, generated strong, sustained, antibody responses that could prevent, after a single injection, a process in severe malaria known as 'rosetting.'
"DepoVax™ is emerging as an ideal enabling agent for novel treatments being developed to address some of the world's most challenging infectious diseases, including malaria," said Marianne Stanford, PhD, Immunovaccine's Vice President, Research. "Severe malaria continues to present a significant worldwide health concern, and we believe that a vaccine that can address its most virulent forms, in particular the rosetting process, could positively impact global malaria-related mortality rates. This is an important public health consideration as we seek to address an unmet medical need among some of the most vulnerable patient populations impacted by this infection."
While there are multiple pathogens and forms of malaria, this study focused specifically on the presentation of the infection most likely to result in death, in which infected red blood cells stick together with uninfected red cells, forming clumps within small blood vessels that block blood flow. This process, known as rosetting, can result in hypoxia, organ damage, and, in some cases, death.
In the study, the CIIE team identified the specific parasitic proteins that play a critical role in binding to human blood cells, resulting in the rosetting process. Data showed that the resulting vaccine candidate formulated in the DepoVax™ platform could generate antibodies that prevented the rosetting process. In addition, researchers were able to combine antigens into a single vaccine administration that was able to protect red blood cells from rosetting across a wide range of malarial strains.
"While malaria is still one of the most preventable causes of death worldwide-especially among vulnerable populations that include young children-we are working to understand and therefore prevent the mechanisms that cause the lethal form of this infection," said Professor Rowe, who holds a Personal Chair in Molecular Medicine at The University of Edinburgh. "This study is an important step in both identifying targets that impede these processes, and in formulating the relevant antigens in a way that enables them to be efficiently and effectively administered to those affected. The DepoVax™ platform provides an ideal opportunity to address those needs."
Immunovaccine is looking to continue development efforts in this disease area, via collaborations with the University of Edinburgh and Leidos/USAID. Dr. Rowe's poster from World Vaccine Congress Europe 2016 will be available on Immunovaccine's website: www.imvaccine.com.
Malaria is a parasitic disease caused by a strain of the Plasmodium species (Plasmodium falciparum being the most common and most lethal), which enter the human circulatory system via bites by Anopheles mosquitoes. It is also one of the major causes of preventable death in the world. 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. The report also noted that children under the age of five are particularly susceptible to malarial illness infection and death. In 2015, malaria was responsible globally for 306,000 deaths of children under the age of five.
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 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 Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to making immunotherapy more effective, more broadly applicable, and more widely available to people facing cancer and infectious diseases. Immunovaccine develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the Company's DepoVax™ platform, a patented delivery agent 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 1/1b study with Incyte Corporation assessing lead cancer therapy, DPX-Survivac, as a combination therapy in ovarian cancer, as well as a Phase 2 study in recurrent lymphoma. The Company is also advancing an infectious disease pipeline including innovative vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and currently has clinical projects ongoing to assess the potential of DepoVax™ to address malaria and the Zika virus. Connect at www.imvaccine.com.
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.