When Australian biotech Admedus announced Phase I results for its herpes simplex virus vaccine last week, it was far from the first company to do so. A whole new generation of vaccinemakers are trying their hand in a race that's heating up.
Patients with a lethal form of brain cancer lived nearly twice as long as expected after receiving Agenus' ($AGEN) Prophage vaccine in a Phase II study, according to the company.
Agenus' vaccine for a deadly form of brain cancer helped extend patients' lives in a single-arm study, the company said, news that sent its shares up as much as 20% on hopes it can find a partner to help it into Phase III.
After hitting its primary endpoint in a Phase II study last fall, Agenus was already leading a Sanofi-NIH collaboration in efforts to develop the first genital herpes vaccine. Now, it's built on that lead with new Phase II results for its therapeutic candidate, HerpV, which achieved statistical significance in reducing viral load.
Merck is looking to Lexington, MA-based Agenus to give the pharma giant an edge in the race to develop new immuno-oncology drugs.
Just days after announcing that investigators had red-flagged a high-profile Phase III study of the cancer vaccine MAGE-A3 after failing to hit two primary endpoints for non-small cell lung cancer, GlaxoSmithKline has decided to bring a last-stab effort to find a subpopulation of patients who could benefit from the therapy to a halt. GSK says it was not possible to find a genetically defined group of patients who responded.
Agenus has fallen a long way since its stock briefly traded for $300 a share in 2000. The failure of its partner GlaxoSmithKline's cancer vaccine in September sent the stock tumbling 23% to $2.84 and it continued to drop in the following months. Now though, Agenus has good news to report.
The cancer immunotherapy biotech Agenus has continued its march back from a big R&D setback earlier in the year, seeing its share price spike 36% this morning after posting positive results for a single-arm Phase II study of one of its brain cancer vaccines.
Agenus and a Sanofi-NIH collaboration both gave updates on their genital herpes vaccine candidates this week. The Agenus vaccine, HerpV, is leading the race, having met its primary endpoint in a Phase II trial of 80 subjects, 70 of whom received the treatment.
Agenus has had a topsy-turvy month. Its share price fell off a cliff after the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine that uses its adjuvant failed a Phase III trial, only to rally this week on the back of news about its own clinical candidate.