Cancer vax developer partners up on biomarker program

A British group in search of a gastrointestinal cancer vaccine has partnered with London Genetics Limited to seek out a set of biomarkers which will allow investigators to clearly define a population of patients who can benefit from it. The new cancer vaccine from Astrimmune, a social enterprise group, spurs the production of antibodies that attack gastrin, a hormone that stimulates certain types of gastrointestinal cancers. And London Genetics will now turn to its broad network of academic groups to do much of the work.

Researchers have noted markedly varying response rates to their early-stage cancer vaccine, indicating that biomarkers could provide insights into which groups of patients could respond well to their vaccine. "For example, there is a possibility that the variable response rates may have been due in part to the inclusion of some patients with gastrin-insensitive tumours, or those not able to respond immunologically."

"Availability of a biomarker to select those patients mostly likely to benefit from Astrimmune's vaccine candidate can be expected to expedite the development of this product and increase its chances of coming to market in the future," said Fred Jacobs, Managing Director of Astrimmune. "London Genetics is an expert in this area and Astrimmune is delighted to be working with the company on this important part of the project development." Neither company revealed the financial terms of the biomarker deal.

"As exemplified by our recent collaboration with Diaceutics and increasingly recognized by the biopharmaceutical industry, pharmacogenetics, biomarkers and patient stratification are becoming an important part of the drug discovery and development process," said Dominique Kleyn, CEO of London Genetics. "London Genetics' network of over 3,000 academic groups makes it an ideal partner for pharma and biotech companies in this work."

- check out the London Genetics release