OncoSec announces first subjects dosed in Phase 1 trial of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

CORVax12 combines Interleukin-12 (IL-12) with an Enhanced SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein; First-in-Class Combination Vaccine Using OncoSec's IL-12 DNA Plasmid-Based Cancer Immunotherapy with NIH's DNA Plasmid-Based Spike Protein

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OncoSecOncoSec Medical Inc has announced that it has dosed several subjects in its Phase 1 clinical trial of CORVax12.

According to the company, it is the only vaccine candidate to include an immunostimulatory cytokine to address COVID-19.

Entitled CORVax12: SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) Protein Plasmid DNA Vaccine Trial for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)(NCT04627675), this trial will address safety and anti-viral immunological responses with the combination of a DNA-encodable stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and OnocSec’s cancer immunotherapy candidate, TAVO (tavokinogene telseplasmid), a potent and well-characterized plasmid-based IL-12 cytokine.

Christopher Twitty, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of OncoSec, said, “Patients’ cancer, whether due to their immune status or anti-tumor therapy, may be unable to mount an effective immune response against COVID-19 via traditional vaccine approaches. As such, there remains a need to develop vaccine candidates (or combinations), such as CORVax12, so that patients do not lose precious time off therapy for an opportunity to be protected from COVID-19.”

Twitty added: “We are encouraged by the potential of CORVax12 as a next-generation vaccine to facilitate a long-lasting immune response. Immune compromised patients, such as those with cancer, may benefit from a vaccine option that not only drives an anti-tumor response, but also creates lasting immunity to SARS-CoV2 by boosting their immune systems to mount a defense against COVID-19. We joined the COVID-19 arena because we believe our IL-12 cancer immunotherapy and the spike protein vaccine approach may make a real impact for these patients.”

Similar to other current vaccines, CORVax12 expresses a stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which trains the immune system to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19.

Immune response

But the addition of IL-12 may augment the depth and type of immune response, which may enhance long-term anti-viral immunity. This coordinated cellular and humoral immunity is a hallmark of IL-12 and may not only provide for a better vaccine, but could significantly benefit patients with cancer who may not mount an effective immune response via a traditional vaccine approach.

Latest preclinical data on CORVax12 presented at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)’s 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting demonstrated that CORVax12 induced a strong immune response in mouse models by leading to the production of anti-spike IgG antibodies capable of disrupting the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein.

In addition, preliminary preclinical data has demonstrated that CORVax12 administered into tumor tissue not only yields a productive anti-viral response, but also a strong anti-tumor response.

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(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)

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