Antigenics shares buoyed by early data on genital herpes vax

Shares of Antigenics (AGEN) got some much-needed help after the developer reported that its vaccine/adjuvant combo to guard against genital herpes looked promising in a small, early-stage trial.

The Lexington, MA-based biotech recruited 35 patients for the Phase I study, dividing them into four different groups. One group got the vaccine AG-707 and Antigenics' adjuvant with the other three groups getting either the vaccine alone, the adjuvant alone or a placebo. The biotech noted that all seven patients who were evaluable for immune response and received AG-707 with the QS-21 adjuvant showed a statistically significant CD4+ T cell response.

"I believe these data represent the first finding of their kind in genital herpes treatments-showing a vaccine, AG-707, elicits both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses in humans," said David Koelle, study investigator and professor of Medicine, Laboratory Medicine and Global Health Medicine at the University of Washington. "We are very encouraged by these results. Recent data suggest both of these arms of immunity are needed for successful treatment of genital herpes."

Investors liked the sound of that, pushing Antigenics' shares up about 20 percent to near the $1 mark. Antigenics, though, has had a tough time gaining much market respect, with its cancer vaccine Oncophage experiencing rough treatment at the hands of regulators outside of Russia.

- here's the Antigenics release
- read the story from the Boston Business Journal