Onyvax Raises £8 Million to Advance
Development of Prostate Cancer Vaccine
London, UK, 8 May 2006: Onyvax Ltd, the biotechnology company
developing novel cancer therapies, today announces that it has
raised £8 million in a Series C fundraising. The round
was co-led by 3i and SR One with additional funds from Barrie
Haigh, Merlin Biosciences, MB Venture Capital Fund 1 NV, Alta
Berkeley Venture Partners and Alberville Ltd.
The funds raised will be used to advance the development of
Onyvax-P, Onyvax's lead product for the treatment of prostate
cancer, in a controlled, multi-centre Phase IIb study to commence
in the summer.
Onyvax-P consists of a combination of three cell lines that
contain numerous prostate cancer markers that are expressed at
different stages of the disease. By raising a powerful immune
response against a comprehensive set of tumour antigens, the
risk of the tumour being able to mutate and become resistant
to the therapy is reduced. The Phase IIa trial for Onyvax-P demonstrated:
a favorable safety profile;
40% patients showed statistically significant reductions of PSA
velocity (a blood marker for prostate cancer); and
median progression free survival of 58 weeks versus historical
controls of 29-30 weeks.
A rising cancer incidence combined with the limitations of conventional
therapies, mean that Onyvax's approach to cancer treatment is
addressing significant markets and major unmet medical needs.
467,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed per year in
the US, Europe and Pacific Rim1. Cases of prostate cancer in
the UK increased 25% between 1995–2002. There are no treatments
currently available that have been shown to prolong life for
men with hormone resistant prostate cancer who have not yet developed
Commenting on the fundraising, Dr Anthony Walker, Chief Executive
of Onyvax, said:
"The participation of all of our existing shareholders
in this financing sends a strong signal of support. The data
generated from the Phase IIa clinical trial is compelling and
if a similar magnitude of effect is generated in a randomized
trial it would be considered a major advance in the treatment
of prostate cancer. The successful completion of randomized Phase
IIb trials will generate significant value and will provide the
statistical basis for pivotal trials.”
1 American Cancer Society (2003) and International Agency for
Research on Cancer (WHO), GLOBOCAN 2000
2 UK Association of Cancer Registries.
For further information, please contact:
Dr Anthony Walker / Robert Johnson
+44 (0)208 682 9494
+44 (0)20 7831 3113
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 tumor cells.
Founded in 1998, Onyvax is developing products that use the
power of the immune system to treat 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
tumor targets. Onyvax-P, a Cell Vaccine for prostate cancer,
will enter Phase IIb clinical trials in 2006. 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 standardized conditions.
Onyvax is also developing Onyvax-105, an antibody based therapy
designed to target CD55. The product has shown promising results
in early clinical trials in colorectal cancer and osteosarcoma.
The company is intending to develop the antibody further, initially
in prostate cancer.
Onyvax is committed to the commercialization 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