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“With the release of the first clinical grade lot of AST-VAC2 the first-in-human clinical trial of AST-VAC2 is expected to be initiated soon,” stated Mr.
Investigational therapies intended for human clinical applications must be manufactured in accordance with cGMP standards designed to help assure the safety and potency of drug products. To achieve cGMP standards, a product must be manufactured and released according to rigorous systems designed to ensure appropriate control of manufacturing facilities, equipment, raw materials, processes and testing procedures. Under the company’s agreement with
With the release of the clinical lot of AST-VAC2, the Company anticipates three sites opening for this study shortly and the first subjects to be dosed in the first half of 2018. As currently designed, the study will enroll up to 24 subjects into one of two cohorts, depending on the stage of each subject’s non-small cell lung cancer.
AST-VAC2 is a “first-in-class” allogeneic cancer immunotherapy that is composed of mature dendritic cells which are designed to kill tumor cells by stimulating immune responses to telomerase, a tumor antigen expressed by over 85% of malignant tumor cells. AST-VAC2 is intended to be available for “on demand” patient use because it is produced from allogeneic pluripotent stem cells that can be manufactured in scale and then cryopreserved.
AST-VAC2 is a platform cancer immunotherapy that could be investigated as a potential therapeutic for many cancer indications and for targeting of many antigens. The results from the Phase 1 clinical trial sponsored by
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Other indications showing high levels of telomerase activity and susceptibility to immunotherapy
- In combination with check point or immune pathway inhibitors
- In combination with additional antigens, including those arising from the exciting new field of tumor neoantigens
AST-VAC2 is an innovative immunotherapy product that contains mature dendritic cells derived from pluripotent stem cells. These non-patient specific (allogeneic) AST-VAC2 cells are engineered to express a modified form of telomerase, a protein widely expressed in tumor cells, but rarely found in normal cells. The modified form of telomerase invokes enhanced stimulation of immune responses to the protein. Similar to an earlier, Asterias-sponsored, hematological cancer program which provided proof-of-concept data, the AST-VAC2 dendritic cells instruct the immune system to generate responses against telomerase and, through this mechanism, target tumor cells. AST-VAC2 is based on a specific mode of action that is complementary to and potentially synergistic with other immune therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors or other immune pathway inhibitors.
About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and the AST-VAC2 Trial
Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the leading cause of cancer-related death, accounting for about one-quarter of all cancer deaths and more than colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 80% to 85% of lung cancers, according to the
As currently designed, the AST-VAC2 Phase 1 clinical trial will enroll up to twenty-four subjects into one of two cohorts, depending on the stage of their non-small cell lung cancer. The first cohort will evaluate AST-VAC2 in up to 12 subjects with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Subjects in this cohort, who carry the major histocompatibility gene, HLA-A2, will receive six weekly injections of AST-VAC2 and will be followed for safety, immune responses to telomerase and overall clinical survival. These survival results will be compared directly to a control group who meet all of the other inclusion/exclusion criteria but do not possess the HLA-A2 gene. Assuming safety is demonstrated in the first cohort, enrollment will advance to a second cohort. In the second cohort, early stage subjects who have had successful resection of their tumor with no evidence of metastasis will be enrolled. Up to 12 subjects in this second cohort who carry the major histocompatibility allele HLA-A2 will receive six, weekly injections of AST-VAC2 and will be followed for safety, immune responses to telomerase, overall clinical survival and time to relapse. These survival results will again be compared directly to a control group who meet all of the inclusion/exclusion criteria of cohort 2 but are not HLA-A2+. Subjects will be followed for one year for immune response to telomerase and for 2 years for the survival endpoints. Asterias and
Statements pertaining to future financial and/or operating and/or clinical research results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development, and potential opportunities for Asterias, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates," “explores”) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the businesses of Asterias, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in Asterias' filings with the
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