NEW YORK – Personalized cancer therapy firm Evaxion Biotech and cancer genomics firm Personalis said on Tuesday that they will use Personalis' immune profiling platform in a Phase IIb trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of Evaxion's neoepitope-targeting therapy EVX-01, in combination with Merck's Keytruda (pembrolizumab), for advanced melanoma patients.
Developed using Evaxion’s proprietary Pioneer AI technology, EVX-01 is one of three patient-specific cancer treatments being advanced by the firm.
"With … Pioneer, we accurately predict the patient’s most potent neoepitopes, which are the significant mutations of cancer. Then we train the immune system to target those exact mutations, not everything else. That means a higher precision in the therapy than the standard-of-care treatments out there," Evaxion CEO Lars Wegner said in a statement.
"Over the past decade, a number of drugs have emerged based on the discovery that the immune system plays a key role in fighting cancer. However, the development of new therapies has been challenged by difficulties in understanding the precise interaction between cancer and the immune system,” Personalis CEO John West added.
Personalis' ImmunoID Next platform consolidates analyses of tumor genomics and host immune activity into a single-sample test. It allows analysis of mechanisms of tumor escape, human leukocyte antigen typing and loss of heterozygosity, microsatellite instability, gene expression signatures, T-cell and B-cell receptor repertoires, and immunocellular quantification.
West said the collaboration with Evaxion is intended to help untangle how the trial's combination therapy is or isn't working, offering "the path to companion diagnostics when relevant biomarkers are identified."