SAN DIEGO, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- MabVax Therapeutics Inc., a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of vaccine and antibody based therapies to address the unmet medical need of preventing recurrent cancer, announces that it has received the follow-on Phase 2 grant award from the National Cancer Institute under the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). The grant is in the amount of $1,100,000 over the next two years subject to satisfactory progress and continued availability of funds in the STTR program. The grant will support continued development of the company's project focused on the characterization of human antibodies to sialyl-Lewis A (sLeA).
The carbohydrate antigen sLeA is widely expressed on tumors of the gastrointestinal tract such as colon and pancreatic cancer where it is used as a tumor marker. It is also commonly expressed on breast cancer cells. Higher expression of sLeA was reported in patients with greater node involvement and sLeA is thought to play an important role in cell adhesion and therefore have an impact on the metastatic potential of these cancers. MabVax believes that a human monoclonal antibody product targeting sLeA could have an important role in the treatment and prevention of recurrent cancer.
Human antibodies discovered during the initial phase of this project were selected for high affinity and specificity for binding to the target antigen on cancer cells. Two antibody candidates have demonstrated excellent activity in assays measuring in vitro tumor cell killing. The goal of the second phase of this project is to scale up antibody production for further characterization and in vivo testing in relevant cancer models. The project is designed to select a lead candidate and to move it toward meeting FDA requirements for production of clinical material for human safety testing.
About MabVax Therapeutics, Inc.
MabVax Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of vaccine and antibody based therapies to address the unmet medical need of preventing recurrent cancer. The company was formed to exploit key aspects of the work of Dr. Philip Livingston and colleagues at MSKCC who have developed cancer vaccines against gangliosides and other carbohydrate antigens that are the most extensively expressed antigenic targets on the cell surface of certain cancers. The company believes that passively administered or vaccine induced antibodies against selected tumor cell surface antigens are ideally suited for eradication of free tumor cells and micrometastases that remain after initial treatment and cause cancer recurrence. MabVax is creating a pipeline of human monoclonal antibody products based on the protective immune responses generated by patients who have been immunized against targeted cancers. The company is based in San Diego, CA. MabVax has closed two Series A rounds of venture financing in February 2008 and August of 2009.
SOURCE MabVax Therapeutics Inc.