894Article about possible lymphoma vaccine
- Sep 21, 1998I saw the following press release concerning a lymphoma vaccine in
development. Part of the article states that it may work on other
hematological malignancies as well. Thought some of you might be interested
in this. --Matt--
Biomira and Biovector to Co-Develop B-Cell Lymphoma Vaccine
EDMONTON and ALBERTA, Canada, and TOULOUSE, France, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ --
BIOMIRA INC. (Nasdaq: BIOMF) (TSE, ME: BRA) and BIOVECTOR THERAPEUTICS SA
today announced that the two companies have signed an agreement to co-develop
Biomira's idiotypic vaccine against B-cell lymphoma. This novel treatment
involves the use of a patient's own cancerous cells to develop a highly
Under terms of the agreement, Biovector will be responsible for marketing in
North America, and for marketing and manufacturing outside of North America.
Biomira retains North American manufacturing rights. Biomira will receive an
up-front payment from Biovector of US $500,000, milestone payments estimated
to total US $15.5 million leading up to marketing approvals, plus royalty
payments based on sales. In addition, Biomira will receive transfer fees for
the cost of goods on products it manufactures.
Biomira has recently submitted an Investigative New Drug (IND) submission to
the FDA to commence the Phase I clinical trials, which are supported by an
existing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US
National Cancer Institute (NCI). Costs associated with future trials will be
largely borne by Biovector and, pending successful negotiation of a new CRADA,
may involve the NCI. The Principal Investigator of the Phase I trial will be
Larry Kwak, MD, Ph.D., an internationally known specialist in B-cell
malignancies, and pioneer in lymphoma vaccine development at the NCI.
Biomira's liposomal idiotypic vaccine contains a patient-specific tumour
antigen obtained from the patient's own cancer cells. The tumour antigen is
first isolated and then combined with interleukin 2 (IL-2) and lipids into a
vaccine designed to induce an immune response against the patient's own cancer
cells. This vaccine would combine the ability of liposomes to target the
immune system and deliver both tumour-specific cancer antigens and a potent
B-cell lymphoma is generally a lethal form of cancer. Current treatments
include conventional chemotherapy and the recently approved monoclonal
antibody approaches that are capable of shrinking the tumours. The residual
tumour, however, almost invariably leads to relapses and sometimes to death.
The therapeutic vaccine under development at Biomira USA Inc. is designed to
stimulate the patient's own immune system to attack the residual tumour cells
following chemotherapy or monoclonal antibody treatment. By complementing
current therapies, this novel vaccine approach is hoped to result in prolonged
disease-free survival. In addition to lymphoma, the vaccine could show equal
promise for other indications within the family of B-cell malignancies
including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma and other
The American Cancer Society predicts that approximately 55,000 new cases of B-
cell lymphoma will be diagnosed in 1998 in the US alone, incidence having
doubled since the 1970's. Approximately 50 percent of these cases are the
result of low-grade lymphoma, which would be targeted by this vaccine. A
large population of patients in remission could also be potential candidates
for this vaccine strategy. In 1998, there will be approximately 25,000 deaths
attributed to B-cell lymphoma in the US alone.
"This agreement allows us to lay groundwork for bringing forward another
exciting product from our pipeline at minimal cost and risk to Biomira's and
Biovector's shareholders, and with a strong return on investment for us both,"
explained Alex McPherson, MD, Ph.D., President and CEO of Biomira Inc. "The
expertise of our partner, Biovector, will allow us to remain focused on our
lead cancer vaccine product at this critical time. It is an important advance
for both companies", he stated. "Biomira is moving its lead product
candidate, THERATOPE(R) vaccine, into an multi-national Phase III clinical
trial involving patients with metastatic breast cancer later this year."
"We believe the technology and expertise of our two companies is well suited
to product revenue generation in the foreseeable future and will help
Biovector Therapeutics to establish financial independence," explained Emile
Loria, MD, President & CEO of Biovector Therapeutics. "This strategy fits our
niche market objective perfectly," Dr. Loria added.
Biovector Therapeutics has developed unique and proprietary technologies for
delivery of biological products called "biovector systems". Biovectors are
synthetic particles with unique biomimetic structures that closely resembling
viral structures. These biovectors have been designed to improve the efficacy
of biotech products including DNA encoding for antigenic proteins in vaccine
applications and blood-circulating proteins in case of deficiency. The company
is mainly focusing on the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer through
curative or prophylactic immunotherapy approaches. Biovector's most advanced
product is an intra-nasal flu vaccine, currently in Phase I clinical trials on
human volunteers. The company was recently partnered with BioChem Vaccines
Inc. a division of BioChem Pharma Inc., and has built an experienced
management team to direct its activities. Its shareholders include major
venture capital firms and institutions in both Europe and North America.
Biomira is a biotechnology company specializing in developing innovative
therapeutic approaches to cancer management. Our commitment to the treatment
of cancer currently focuses on the development of synthetic vaccines and novel
strategies for cancer immunotherapy. We are The Cancer Vaccine People(TM).
Statements made in this release may contain forward-looking statements.
Various factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those
projected in such statements, including those predicting regulatory processes,
the amounts of future payments expected under the collaborative agreement and
timing and results of clinical trials. Although the Company believes that the
forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, it can give no
assurance that the Company's expectations are correct. All forward-looking
statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by the Cautionary
SOURCE Biomira Inc.
CO: Biomira Inc.; Biovector Therapeutics SA; BioChem Pharma Inc.
ST: Canada, France
09/21/98 08:09 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com
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