TOKYO, BASEL, Switzerland and MANNHEIM, Germany—NEC Corporation, a company in IT and network technologies, and VAXIMM AG, a Swiss/German biotech company focused on developing oral T-cell immunotherapies, have announced a signed strategic clinical trial collaboration agreement and an equity investment agreement to develop novel personalized neoantigen cancer vaccines.
“Cancer is consistently one of the most serious healthcare challenges, with millions of new cases diagnosed worldwide annually,” said Osamu Fujikawa, senior vice president, NEC Corporation. “NEC’s core technology is well positioned for the development of personalized medicine, and we are strongly committed to delivering effective treatments for cancer patients. We are delighted to be working with VAXIMM in order to develop an optimal immunotherapy for each individual patient.”
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, which is non-exclusive to both parties, NEC will provide funding for a Phase 1 clinical trial. NEC and VAXIMM will co-develop personalized cancer vaccines using NEC’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which is utilized in its Neoantigen Prediction System. VAXIMM will use their proprietary T-cell immunotherapy technology.
VAXIMM’s lead product candidate, oral VXM01, activates killer cells targeting tumor-specific vasculature and certain immune-suppressive cells to increase immune cell infiltration in solid tumors. VXM01 is currently in clinical development for several tumor types, including brain cancer. VAXIMM also has a neoantigen program (VXM NEO) currently in preclinical development; the company’s platform allows for fast generation and delivery of personalized T-cell cancer vaccines and may overcome key issues faced by other neoantigen approaches.
The vaccines are planned to be evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial in various solid tumors. VAXIMM will be responsible for conducting the clinical trial, which is expected to be initiated in 2020. NEC will have the option for development and commercialization rights to the program worldwide, except for China and other Asian territories outside of Japan.
“We are excited to enter this alliance with NEC and to have their strong support of VAXIMM. NEC’s novel AI technology will enable not only the identification but also the prioritization of neoantigens from each patient, facilitating the optimal potential treatment for each individual. Once the list of neoantigens is available, we will be able to apply our technology to quickly produce a personalized vaccine,” added Heinz Lubenau, Ph.D., chief operating officer and co-founder of VAXIMM. “Individualized therapy is at the cutting edge of cancer treatment today, and, with this collaboration, we are able to further contribute to this approach.”