BioMotiv, a Cleveland-based drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project, and a university in New Zealand have announced the formation of an immuno-oncology startup that will work to develop a suite of cancer vaccines.
SapVax, based on intellectual property licensed from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, will develop the vaccines based on a "self-adjuvanting peptide platform technology."
The University of Auckland researchers have found a novel method that demonstrates potential for developing vaccines targeting tumor-associated antigens, tumor neo-antigens and infectious disease-associated antigens, according to a news release.
"The Auckland team's discoveries present a novel platform for overcoming traditional barriers to developing cancer vaccines," said Baiju R. Shah, CEO of BioMotiv, in a statement. "We look forward to accelerating their work into breakthrough therapies through SapVax."
SapVax has several self-adjuvanting vaccines in development, including ones that target a cancer-testis antigen NY-ESO-1, which is expressed in a range of cancers, and Epstein-Barr virus proteins that are strongly associated with certain cancers, such as lymphoma and gastric cancer.
The academic scientists who developed the technology will continue to be involved in the clinical development.
"We are delighted to be partnering with BioMotiv to launch SapVax and develop this exciting new platform into clinical candidates to further the exciting promise of cancer immunotherapy," said Will Charles, general manager of technology development at UniServices, the commercial research, knowledge transfer and custom education company of the University of Auckland, which managed the transitional and early preclinical research program.
"Our partnership demonstrates the value of university seed funds that can invest early and quickly to rapidly make inventions ready for further follow-on investment and partnering," Charles said.
"BioMotiv announces immuno-oncology startup with New Zealand university" originally appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business.