Immunicum is Swedish Biotech Company listed on NASDAQ OMX First North and develops therapeutic cancer vaccines with INTUVAX being their flagship model. The company has a total of five projects in their pipeline and their main cancer vaccine, INTUVAX, currently recruiting 90 patients for a clinical phase II study for kidney cancer (Renal Cell Carcinoma).
INTUVAX is a therapeutic vaccine based on the company’s COMBIG platform. The vaccine uses allogenic dendric cells (patent protected) and does not need to be loaded with antigens in vitro; instead the vaccine is injected intratumorally and uses the patient’s own tumor as antigen source. INTUVAX has the potential to work in all cancer indications that has a solid tumor. Clinical trials are ongoing for kidney cancer (Phase II) and for liver cancer (Phase I). INTUVAX is also an “off the shelf” product that most likely will be considerably cheaper to produce than other autologous vaccine, e.g. Dendreon’s Provenge.
The Phase I/II study in kidney cancer (mRCC), combines INTUVAX with Pfizers Sutent. The study has showed amazing survival in a small amount of patients. A total of 11 patients were recruited to the study, five (n=5) with intermediate prognosis and six (n=6) patients with poor prognosis, subgrouping according to so-called MSKCC criteria. The median overall survival after vaccination for the subgroup with poor prognosis is currently at 25 months and has thus already exceeded the expected median overall survival of 5 months with interferon treatment and 9 months with only Sutent treatment. The median overall survival for the intermediate patients is too early to comment on even if the patients already have lived surpassed expected survival.
In the Phase I/II study in mRCC several interesting data that confirms the synergistic antitumor effect, between tyrosine kinase inhibitors (Sutent) and INTUVAX, has been observed:
One patient had four brain metastases and all of them went into complete regression and disappeared completely later on. Another patient with extensive sarcomatoid tumor development also showed a partial regression of all metastases. According to documented literature for kidney cancer neither of these two patients should have responded to treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It is therefore likely that the effect comes from the synergistic of a drug that can inhibit immunosuppression (Sutent) and another drug that can reinforce the immune defense (INTUVAX).
Survival diagrams for the kidney cancer study can be seen here (although with Swedish text):