Cancer vaccine specialist Targovax today announced that it has raised a total of $3.6 million to accelerate development of its RAS mutation-targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine pipeline specifically lead candidate TG01 for pancreatic cancer.
The funds comprise $2.3 million in public support from the Norwegian Research Council’s BIA programme and $1.3 million from existing and new investors including the Radium Hospital Research Foundation Algot Invest and Trygve Schiørbeck.
Targovax was established in October in 2010 to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines based on pioneering research into RASmutations in the Norwegian Radium Hospital and Norsk Hydro in the late 90s. Mutation of RAS disrupts normal cell division signaling and contributes to development of cancer cells and tumors. RASmutations are found in approximately 25% of all cancers and in particular in pancreatic cancer (80-90%) colorectal cancer (40%) and non-small cell lung cancers (30%). Lead candidate TG01 has already been granted orphan drug status in the EU and US and is currently in Phase I/II pancreatic cancer trials at Oslo University Hospital and the Radium Hospital in Norway.
Hanne Mette D Kristensen CEO of Targovax said that the news funds will be used to accelerate the clinical programme and in particular focus on improved formulations of TG01 with adjuvant: “The solid public and private support enables us to continue development of innovative immunotherapy targeting RAS mutated cancers. The BIA grant is recognition of the quality of work we are performing in this growing field of cancer vaccines. We expect first results from the TG01 Phase I/II study by the end of 2013 and will be looking to raise a further $5.5 million during the fall to complete development of TG01 and prepare for Phase III-studies.”