Singapore to detail trial of MicroVAX novel cancer vaccine

SINGAPORE--The National Cancer Centre Singapore will brief on the status of a first-in-human clinical trial using an adenovirus under a protocol endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Singapore's Health Sciences Authority (HSA), highlighting the wealthy city-state's push to be a leader in early stage clinical trials in Asia.

MicroVAX, a biotech company located in Manassas, VA, announced in August last year it would start Phase I clinical trials for a proprietary vaccine platform that allows under the provisions of an FDA IND entry of patients with cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, ovary and lung, that have relapsed after initial salvage therapy.

Dr. Toh Han Chong

The August statement noted the trials are sponsored by the Singapore Clinical Research Institute, and conducted by Dr. Toh Han Chong, senior consultant and deputy director at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

"Our main objective is to assess the safety and benefit of this unique vaccine, which aims to target a common protein on many of the commonest cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and provide a specific extra boost to the immune system against cancer at the same time," Dr. Toh was quoted as saying in August. "We will also assess how potent this vaccine can stimulate a meaningful immune response against the cancers."

Singapore has moved to build a vast biomedical complex for treatment aimed at patients from home and abroad, clinical research and manufacturing in the past five years that includes the DUKE NUS Graduate Medical School, the Biopolis cluster of research facilities, the Agency for Science Technology and Research, or A*Star, and new state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in biologics by AbbVie ($ABBV), Amgen ($AMGN) and Novartis ($NVS) in the past two years among others. Companies like Bayer Healthcare have made it a regional cancer research hub.

The push on clinical trials faces competition from South Korea and Taiwan, both of which have shortened regulatory review periods along with Singapore to attract research as well as moves to attract industry clusters in biotech.

"Foreign patient among those undergoing this trial--so far shows promising results," according to an invite to a Jan. 21 press conference to update on the trials.

"The Phase I clinical trial also scores another first for Singapore as it is endorsed by both US FDA and our HSA. The trial is sponsored by Singapore Clinical Research Institute."

- here's the release
- and the trial information