Onyvax and The Mayo Clinic to Develop Cancer
Vaccines for Ovarian Cancer
London, UK and Rochester, MN - Thursday 15 January, 2004:
Onyvax Limited, the biotechnology company developing novel
cancer therapies, and The Mayo Clinic announced today, at the
Gynaecological Oncology Group (GOG) semi-annual meeting in
Atlanta, that they have entered into a collaborative license
agreement granting Onyvax exclusive worldwide rights to develop
and commercialise a cancer vaccine for ovarian cancer, the
second most common form of cancer in women. Onyvax, currently
also developing a vaccine for prostate cancer, aims to commence
Phase II clinical trials in ovarian cancer within 24 months.
Cancer vaccines represent a highly attractive approach for
cancer therapy as, in contrast to current treatments such as
chemotherapy and radiotherapy, small non-toxic doses of a vaccine
may be administered to a patient to stimulate an immune response.
Onyvax develops Cell Vaccines, a type of cancer vaccine that
contains a combination of stable cell lines representing different
stages of the cancer. The cell lines are irradiated and so
cannot grow or divide. Cell Vaccines are designed to induce
a powerful immune response against a broad range of cancer-associated
antigens without the severe side effects often associated with
conventional cancer therapies. Onyvax has observed encouraging
Phase II clinical results with its lead Cell Vaccine for prostate
cancer, Onyvax-P, and is expanding the programme to include
other major cancers.
Commenting on the agreement, Dr. Anthony Walker, CEO of Onyvax,
said: “As well as advancing the prostate programme into
pivotal clinical trials, we are rolling out our technology
into other cancer types, the first of which is ovarian cancer.
We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with The Mayo
Clinic on this programme.”
Dr Stanimir Vuk-Pavlovic, Director of the Stem Cell Laboratory,
The Mayo Clinic Cancer Centre, added: “We are pleased
that our partnership with Onyvax will leverage the strengths
of both sides in basic, translational and clinical research.
We expect that this comprehensive approach will result in speedy
advances towards clinical trials in immuno-therapy of ovarian
cancer. Mayo is eager to employ its expertise to add value
to promising new treatments of malignant diseases at stages
where traditional treatments are no longer sufficient.”
- Ends -
Notes to Editors:
Onyvax Ltd is a biotechnology company developing novel cancer
therapies that harness the selective power of the immune system
to seek and destroy tumour cells.
Founded in 1997, Onyvax has three product candidates in clinical
trials designed for the treatment of prostate and other cancers.
Onyvax’s lead products are based on combinations of inactivated
cell lines that induce immune responses to a broad spectrum
of tumour targets. Onyvax-P, a Cell Vaccine for prostate cancer,
is due to enter Phase III clinical trials within 12 months.
For each cancer type, Onyvax generates banks of proprietary
cell lines representative of different stages of the disease.
The vaccines are manufactured in bulk under standardised conditions.
Onyvax is committed to the commercialisation of new therapies
that significantly prolong survival while maintaining a high
quality of life for cancer patients. The Company is based in
London and has collaborations with leading institutions in
Europe and the US.
Further information on Onyvax can be found at www.onyvax.com
Ovarian cancer facts:
According to the American Cancer Society some 25,400 women
are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the US and about
14,300 die of the disease. Ovarian cancer is the second commonest
and most serious form of gynaecological cancer in the developed
world; it accounts for 5% of all deaths and is the fourth most
common cause of cancer-related death in women. Standard treatment
is surgery followed by chemotherapy, however the side effects
are significant and survival rates remain poor. The need for
new therapies is acute.
For further information, please contact:
Dr Anthony Walker / Rob Johnson
+44 (0)20 8682 9119
+44 (0)20 8682 9495
David Yates / Lucy Briggs
+44 (0)20 7831 3113
Mayo Research Foundation
John J. Murphy
(US) + 001 507 284 5005