French biotech Transgene has ceased the development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine that failed to shrink tumors in patients with lung cancer in a phase II trial.
In the phase II trial, Transgene tested its therapeutic cancer vaccine in combination with chemotherapy and the checkpoint inhibitor drug nivolumab, marketed as Opdivo. The treatment failed to significantly shrink the tumors of 40 patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer. As a consequence, the company has decided to abandon the vaccine’s development, which was being carried out in collaboration with the big pharma Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The cancer vaccine candidate consists of a modified vaccinia virus that carries the genetic instructions to produce two proteins that boost the response of the immune system against cancer.
This phase II failure is the second major setback for Transgene in the last six months. In August, Transgene decided to abandon the development of a virus-based therapy designed to hunt down and kill cancer cells after interim analyses in a phase III trial concluded that it would be futile.
Transgene’s stock price has sunk by more than 18% on Euronext Paris since the announcement. The company will now focus on developing next-generation oncolytic virus treatments, with one of the most advanced treatments in an ongoing phase I/II trial expected to finish late 2020.
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