ovarian cancer

Canadian-based Quest PharmaTech has entered into a licensing agreement with US-based Oncovir to assess the clinical utility of combining Quest’s antibody immunotherapy technology with Oncovir’s immune activator ‘Hiltonol’ in a 20-patient ovarian cancer Phase II clinical trial.

Under the deal, Oncovir will provide the needed drug, appropriate technical expertise and relevant data to support the regulatory process necessary to carry out the clinical trial, which will take place in Rome, Italy, under the direction of professor Roberto Angioli of University Bio Medico.

Oncovir’s Hiltonol (Poly ICLC) is a TLR-3 agonist that has been shown to have specific anti-tumour and anti-viral actions, and it is emerging as a promising component to improve activity of multiple cancer and HIV vaccines.

Oncovir currently has more than two dozen recently completed trials or ongoing Phase I or II investigator initiated, collaborative clinical studies, using Hiltonol alone or in combination with other agents.

The planned Phase II ovarian cancer trial is part of Quest’s strategy of conducting three risk mitigating clinical trials with Oregovomab, in combination with chemotherapy to confirm its ability to generate a clinically meaningful antigen- specific T-cell response in both ovarian cancer patients. This is in addition to other CA125-associated cancer settings such as select patients with pancreatic cancer.

"The planned Phase II ovarian cancer trial is part of Quest’s strategy of conducting three risk mitigating clinical trials with Oregovomab."

Oregovomab is an anti-CA125 monoclonal antibody that is administered intravenously. It targets the circulating tumour-associated antigen CA125 (cancer antigen 125), which is shed from the surface of human ovarian cancer cells.

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It is currently under development for the treatment of ovarian cancer as an adjuvant enhanced immunotherapy.

Quest is also looking to optimise the utility of cancer immunotherapy through a combination of its antibodies with cytotoxic agents and promising additional immune adjuvants.

The first two clinical trials in the initiative are already underway at clinical centres in Italy and the US.

Quest chief executive officer Madi Madiyalakan said: "We look forward to working with Oncovir in the conduct of this important clinical trial combining Hiltonol with Oregovomab."

Image: Oregovomab targets the circulating tumour associated antigen CA125. Photo: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.