Oncothyreon CEO on Next-Generation Cancer Vaccines, Two Key Zymonites, and Serious Luck

12/23/09Follow @xconomy

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BK: Exactly.

X: Is there a difference in speed of manufacturing, or consistency of the adjuvant?

BK: I’m talking about consistency. It’s a chemical synthetic process as opposed to something from a biologic source.

X: So you think you have a better adjuvant?

BK: Potentially. We don’t know it’s better, but we own it, and that helps. From a scientific perspective, the question we’re asking with BGLP40 is really whether there’s an advantage to a vaccine that elicits both an antibody and a T-cell response against the target. It’s an unknown question.

The other scientific thing we want to know is about our adjuvant. It hasn’t been tested in man yet, and this will be the first time. We think what we’ll learn from that could enable that adjuvant to be the subject of a licensing program, in and of itself, for other vaccines.

X: Like flu, or any other kind of vaccine?

BK: Yes. Some other vaccine. Either for infectious disease or oncology. That’s both a scientific and clinical question, and a business issue.

We’ve tried to license it in the past, but it’s not been far enough along in the clinic for it to generate real value for us. We’d like to build that value.

X: Is there any significance to the difference in amino acid length between the vaccines? Does that have anything to do with provoking both the T-cell and B-cell responses?

BK: No. We believe that’s related to the fact that there are sugars present on the BGLP40 antigen and there are not sugars on the Stimuvax peptide.

The natural targeted protein, MUC-1, is glycosylated. It has sugar on it. It turns out you can get a perfectly good T-cell response without the sugars. That’s what Stimuvax does. Clearly, Stimuvax has been demonstrated to have a T-cell response, and based on the Phase II trial, it looks like it works. We’re not saying Stimuvax isn’t adequate. That’s not the message we’re trying to send. We think Stimuvax does work. The question is whether this is better. If so, it also provides an obvious product life-cycle management tool for Stimuvax.

X: Now you’re saying Stimuvax works. But isn’t there a history … Next Page »

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