Agenus’ brain cancer vaccine impresses in Phase II

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US biotech Agenus has announced encouraging results from a Phase II trial of its brain cancer vaccine.

Things had taken a turn for the worse for Lexington-based Agenus at the start of the month, as it was announced that a late-stage trial with GSK's MAGE-A3 melanoma cancer vaccine – for which it made the adjuvant – had failed to meet its first co-primary endpoint. Hence the encouraging results from this mid-stage trial with Agenus' Prophage Series G-100 (HSPPC-96) cancer vaccine for newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme will definitely be welcomed by the company.

In the 46-patient study, the HSPPC-96 immunotherapy used in combination with the current standard of care (radiation and a chemotherapy agent known as temozolomide) showed an almost 18 month median progression free survival. This represented a 160% increase compared to current standard of care alone, which stands at just under 7 months. This new trial data supports the already-positive Phase II data reported back in May.

Andrew T. Parsa, Lead Clinical Investigator and Chair of Neurosurgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said the results were "encouraging and certainly justify a definitive randomized study" and "the patient-specificity and lack of toxicity, combined with patient selection to optimize immunotherapy efficacy, could position this vaccine as a break-through treatment for newly diagnosed GBM patients in the years ahead."

The Prophage Series G vaccines are also being studied in recurrent disease.  Based on the Phase II data, Agenus says it now plans to discuss potential Phase III trials with the FDA.

Read the press release >

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