Imugene (ASX:IMU) targeting gastric cancer


by Rachael Jones

Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU) Managing Director and CEO, Leslie Chong talks trial progress with the company's lead HER-Vaxx cancer vaccine, advantages of B-cell vaccines and strengthened scientific board.

Rachael Jones: Hello, I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Imugene (ASX:IMU), is CEO and MD, Leslie Chong. Leslie, welcome back to FNN.

Leslie Chong: Thanks so much for having me.

Rachael Jones: Imugene (ASX:IMU) is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing new and novel immunotherapies. How is your company progressing?

Leslie Chong: We are doing amazingly well. Since the last time I spoke to you, we actually acquired a whole suite of molecules from Ohio State University and the famous Mayo Clinic. So, as you know, we have Her-Vaxx that's already in the clinic, finishing up the phase one B portion and moving right into the phase two. Preparation is well underway for that. And we acquired another molecule called B-Vaxx, which is also an anti-herd two therapy that's ongoing in a phase two. And I'm excited about KEY-Vaxx, as we're hurriedly putting through the pre-clinical aspects so that we can go to the FDA for a new investigational drug application, which is an IND.

Rachael Jones: That's excellent. Now firstly can we take a look at your lead candidate, HER-Vaxx.

Leslie Chong: So HER-Vaxx is what's called an anti-HER2 formulation where HER2, if you have too many of these receptor cells on your cells, then it propagates breast cancer, gastric cancer, some ovarian, some lung. And what we chose to do is go into the gastric population because it's under-served, and we could go somewhat nearby. We could go into Asia and we have eastern Europe to go into, so that is, I'm happy to report, that that is completed a phase 1B, and will be releasing top line data across those. And then we're doing the work to get us into the phase two.

Rachael Jones: Now let's take a closer look at KEY-Vaxx.

Leslie Chong: So KEY-Vaxx is quite exciting. And I also want to talk about, we have another anti-HER2 therapy called B-Vaxx that we acquired from OSU and Mayo. And that is also already in the phase two. It had great results from the phase one. They had 24 patients, and out of those a majority of them were gaining benefit. Meaning they've stabilised their tumors and what have you. So I think that's ongoing and that's well under way. Key-Vaxx is exciting because it's an anti-PD1. So there's two already marketed products called Opdivo and and Keytruda, and they garner something like nine billion a year. And they've only been marketed since 2015. So you can imagine if we could have a B cell technology in an anti-PD1 space that shows safety as we've seen across our other therapies, and the combination would be endless. So we will but change the paradigm of how an anti-PD1 could work in terms of combination, in terms of safety, and in terms of efficacy. So we're putting that together towards an FDA package, so that we can go right into the clinic.

Rachael Jones: That's excellent. And Leslie, you've made some key appointments recently. Can you tell me about those?

Leslie Chong: I think our technology has really attracted some huge talents out there. And I'm happy that Dr. Joseph Tabinero, who is the president of the European Society of Cancer oncology to join our SAV. We've also made an appointment of Chief Medical Officer with Dr. Mark Marino, who has been a CMO across many of the biotech companies in the U.S.

Rachael Jones: And Leslie, can you give us an update on the trial timelines and the funding requirements?

Leslie Chong: So I'm extremely happy to report that we have just gone through a successful capital raise. Where I'm essentially cashed up and runway to obtain full sets of data or definitive data across three of our programs, that's HER-Vaxx, B-Vaxx, and KEY-Vaxx.

Rachael Jones: Excellent. And last question now Leslie. Where would you like to see the company this time next year?

Leslie Chong: Well this time next year the price of our stock should really reflect the good work that's happening. We'll hopefully have KEY-Vaxx in the clinic by that point. We'll have HER-Vaxx and some good interim analysis there. And some data across the B-Vaxx.

Rachael Jones: Leslie Chong, thanks for the update.

Leslie Chong: Thank you.