We’ve had a busy year at OncoSec. From our ongoing clinical trials to the formation of our melanoma board, research agreement with Old Dominion University and in between, the last year has moved us deeper into cancer research and engaging with patient communities. As we have only a matter of days left in 2013, we would like to look back at this year in review. Here is a selection of some of our activities this year:
Formation of Melanoma Advisory Board
The formation of our advisory board on melanoma earlier in 2013 brought together five longstanding industry professionals who are well respected in our field. The board is comprised of Dr. Adil Daud (UCSF), Dr. Sanjiv S. Agarwala (St. Luke’s Cancer Center), Dr. Axel Hauschild (University Hospital Schlesqig-Holstein), Dr. Kim A. Margolin (UW Medicine), and Dr. Vernon K. Sondak (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute). These distinguished medical professionals have helped shape our clinical strategies and development during our research and trials and have actively given their extensive knowledge on melanoma, immunotherapy and clinical practice.
Collaboration with Smart Patients
The first company to partner with Smart Patient, we felt honoured to contribute to the work of Google’s former Chief Health Strategist, Roni Zeiger. OncoSec was particularly interested in a community section for Merkel cell carcinoma patients, as few resources have been available to those suffering from this relatively rare but deadly form of cancer. “Together with OncoSec, we will be able to gain a better understanding of MCC from a patient perspective, and help design more patient-centered trials that will make scientific breakthroughs for this disease available sooner,” Zeiger remarked.
Smart Patients was formed in 2013 as an online community that connects patients and caregivers with medical professionals and a search engine for available clinical trials.
Sponsored Research Agreement and Combinations Study
In June of 2013, we announced our sponsored research agreement with Old Dominion University for a combination study in melanoma. The purpose of this combination study is to evaluate the effects of our ImmunoPulse technology in combination with Anti-CTLA4, Anti-PD1 and Anti-PDL-1 therapies. OncoSec CEO and President Punit Dhillon had the following remarks on the development:
“Although results from ongoing Phase 2 studies have demonstrated ImmunoPulse is a potentially effective monotherapy for the treatment of skin cancers such as melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma, OncoSec continues to evaluate opportunities where ImmunoPulse can be combined with other therapies to either improve its effectiveness or broaden the use of ImmunoPulse into other indications.”
Preliminary safety data from animal trials showed 100% of treated lesions demonstrating complete regression. We will continue to update investors and community members on our combination study, as data is released.
Dr. Robert H. Pierce Joins OncoSec as Chief Medical Officer
In December of 2013, we were proud to announce that Dr. Robert H. Pierce joined OncoSec as Chief Medical Officer. As former Merck Research Labs Executive Director and a member of their global anti-PD-1 development team, Dr. Pierce has played a pivotal role in recent international developments in cancer immunotherapy that are FDA approved. With a substantial career in mechanisms of immune tolerance and various clinical developments, Dr. Pierce is sure to be an indispensible member of our team.
Dr. Pierce commented, “We stand at a transformational moment in oncology. I’m convinced that intralesional therapy with IL12 drives systemic anti-tumor immune responses and has the potential to augment immunomodulatory therapies such as anti-PD-1.”
Announcement of Positive Interim Data from Phase II Metastatic Melanoma Trial
Presented by Dr. Adil Daud at the 2013 Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy meeting at the University of California San Francisco, the positive interim data from our phase II trial for metastatic melanoma showed a favorable safety profile and robust response rates. In the 47 melanoma patients treated, a serious adverse event has never been present. 61.1% of patients with evaluable lesions showed systemic antitumor response, without systemic toxicity. A 38.1% objective overall response rate and a 9.5% complete response rate were some of the data points released from the study. For more information, please see our press release.
As 2013 comes to an end, we look forward to furthering our research and development over the coming year. Stay tuned for upcoming milestones and updates on OncoSec, by signing up for our newsletter at the bottom of our website. For more news about cancer research, prevention and survivor stories, please join us on Facebook and Twitter.
(Main image by Eric Lim Photography)