Ohio State partners with MedVax to bring a cancer peptide vaccine to patients

March 18, 2014
This is Pravin T. P. Kaumaya, Ph.D., a cancer researcher with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Credit: The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University, through the Ohio State Innovation Foundation, has signed an exclusive world-wide licensing agreement with MedVax Technologies, Inc., for the licensing of groundbreaking cancer peptide vaccine technologies.

The anticancer vaccine technologies are designed for the treatment and prevention of cancers associated with the HER2 protein. These include breast, ovarian, lung, colon and pancreatic cancers, and . The commitment by MedVax will allow innovative clinical trials for various cancers to be conducted in the near future.

Development of these technologies, which took decades of research, was led by Pravin T. P. Kaumaya, PhD, a researcher with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) Innate Immunity Program.

The work has been funded by nearly $15 million in grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NCI CA 84356, NIH/NCI CA 094555, NIH/NCI CA 135608, and NIH/NIH CA 82869). Additional funding was provided by Pelotonia and Fore Cancer Research.

"We have developed and have conducted two NCI-funded, FDA-approved clinical trials at The OSUCCC – James," says Kaumaya who also serves director of the Division of Vaccine Development and Peptide and Protein Engineering laboratory in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, molecular and cellular biochemistry, and microbiology at Ohio State's College of Medicine.

"Both trials have shown the candidate vaccines to be safe, and several metastatic cancer patients have obtained clinical benefit with little toxicity," says Kaumaya, who led the development of the trial protocol, as well as development of the vaccine.

"Stimulating the body's immune system to fight cancer is a Holy Grail of cancer research," says Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, John L. Marakas Nationwide Insurance Enterprise Foundation Chair in Cancer Research, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

"These vaccine technologies developed by Dr. Kaumaya and his collaborators are a giant step in that direction. Our hope is that this partnership with MedVax Technologies will complete this effort and successfully bring these anticancer vaccines into the clinic."

MedVax Technologies, Inc. was founded by biotech entrepreneur Robert Brooks, JD, who has extensive investment knowledge and experience in the life-science industries and is the company's chief executive officer.

"This licensing agreement with Ohio State of a chimeric HER2 Peptide Vaccine can translate into transformational changes for the treatment and prevention of several human cancers," Brooks says. "Partnering with Ohio State was a strong positive decision for MedVax." As part of the license agreement, MedVax has committed to fund an efficacy trial at Ohio State in breast, ovarian and gastric cancers. The phase 1b clinical trial will involve 30-60 patients per tumor type.

"Health and Wellness" is at the forefront of Ohio State's research agenda and identified as one of the university's primary areas for investment and growth.

Commercializing this research area has great potential for current and future patients," says Tim Wright, vice president of technology commercialization at Ohio State.

"The agreement with MedVax to commercialize Dr. Kaumaya's research is one great stride further in getting these innovations into the global marketplace," adds Wright. "These technologies possess the potential to permanently change patient lives; advancing them from the lab to the clinic would be a major win in the fight against cancer. A win everyone is working hard to see happen."

Explore further: Researchers target HER1 receptor for peptide cancer vaccine, therapeutic agents

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