April 23, 2014
A joint effort by The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) to license a promising breast cancer vaccine to reduce breast cancer recurrence rates has received the 2014 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. This marks the second consecutive award for the University, which is aided in its technology transfer efforts by HJF through the USU-HJF Joint Office of Technology Transfer.
The award is for work by Army Colonel George Peoples, M.D., chief of surgical oncology at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, and his colleagues on a breast cancer vaccine to reduce recurrence rates. The vaccine, called E75, is a peptide of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu). The vaccine, commercially known as NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S), stimulates a patient’s cytotoxic T-cells, or “killer T-cells,” to target and eradicate cells that express any level of HER2. Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston discovered the E75 peptide.
USU supported successful Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the E75 vaccine, showing breast cancer recurrence rates that were reduced by half after five years of follow-up. Based on the Phase II clinical trial results, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted NeuVax™ a special protocol assessment for the Phase III clinical trial, which is being conducted by the technology transfer recipient and commercial partner, Galena Biopharma of Portland, Ore. The Phase III clinical trial began in 2012.
“More than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year. The work by Colonel Peoples and others stands as a remarkable achievement that vividly illustrates a tremendous untold story about military medicine: Its commitment to sharing advances with service members and civilians alike,” said John W. Lowe, HJF President and CEO. “Congratulations to Colonel Peoples and our respected colleagues at USU on this recognition of their efforts.”
The E75 technology was licensed to Galena Biopharma for all uses. The initial license agreement was signed by Apthera Inc., which was acquired by RXi Pharmaceuticals and later became Galena Biopharma, in 2006. A subsequent agreement was executed in 2011 for an optimized version of E75 and another related technology that combines E75 and Herceptin®, a monoclonal antibody used in the adjuvant setting, developed by Genentech that enhances the immune response to E75.
The Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, presented by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, recognizes employees of its member laboratories and non-laboratory staff members who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology to the commercial marketplace. A panel of experts from industry, state and local government, academia, and the federal laboratory system judge the nominations.
The Foundation and the University created the USU-HJF Joint Office of Technology Transfer in 2000 to help scientists at the University and Foundation move their novel inventions, devices and technologies to possible patenting and commercialization. The office serves as the technology transfer office for USU and supports University research through agreement negotiation and management, patent filings, and licensing and marketing of technologies.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine is a private, not-for-profit organization established in 1983 and authorized by Congress to support research and education throughout the broader military medical community. For more information, visit www.hjf.org.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation
JoAnn Sperber, HJF Director of Communications