Heat Biologics and OncoSec Enter Cancer Immunotherapy Collaboration

Heat Biologics, Inc. and OncoSec Medical Inc. are teaming up to test the combination of their cancer immunotherapy approaches.

The companies announced that they have entered into an agreement to evaluate the combination of the immunotherapy approaches developed by each company. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Heat has developed a technology platform that introduces antigens that share characteristics of cancer cells. Heat’s novel, “off-the-shelf” ImPACT therapy is designed to deliver live, genetically-modified, irradiated human cells, which are reprogrammed to pump out a broad spectrum of cancer-associated antigens together with a potent immune adjuvant called gp-96 to educate and activate a cancer patient’s immune system to recognize and kill cancerous cells.

Under the agreement, Head and OncoSec will jointly evaluate the preclinical efficacy of Heat’s proprietary gp-96-Ig based ImPact immunotherapy platform using OncoSec’s ImmunoPulse, the company’s core technology which is an investigational stage intratumoral DNA platform. OncoSec acquired ImmunoPulse from Inovio Pharmaceuticals in 2011. The company has tested the technology as a way to deliver to cancer cells a DNA plasmid encoded with immunotherapeutic proteins intended to prompt an immune response.

“We are excited to initiate this collaboration with OncoSec, one of the leaders in the field of intratumoral DNA delivery,” said Taylor Schreiber, MD, PhD, Heat’s Vice President of Research and Development. “This collaboration with OncoSec reflects our desire to expand Heat’s ImPACT platform into DNA-based immunotherapies to stimulate immunity to both shared and private tumor antigens without introducing the complexities associated with personalized therapies.”

The companies are exploring this combination in hopes of benefiting cancer patients with unmet medical needs. Heat has two programs based on the ImPACT platform, viagenpumatucel-L (HS-110) in a Phase II clinical trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and vesigenurtacel-L (HS-410) in a Phase II clinical trial in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. OncoSec’s ImmunoPulse is currently in Phase II clinical trials, investigating the approach for treatment of metastatic melanoma, head and neck cancer, triple negative breast cancer and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

“In this collaboration we will evaluate the efficacy of Heat’s proprietary DNA constructs with OncoSec’s clinical stage electroporation platform,” said Robert H. Pierce, MD, OncoSet’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Heat’s ImPACT platform is a unique approach that specifically activates tumor specific cytotoxic T-cells. We expect it will be effective with OncoSec’s proprietary intratumoral delivery platform that has already shown promising clinical activity in both local and distant tumors in patients with metastatic melanoma.”

Source: OncoSec Medical Inc.

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