Deal Inked for Oral Cancer Vaccine Research

Photo by the National Cancer Institute.


Photo by the National Cancer Institute.

UbiVac and Janssen Biotech will collaborate in preclinical and clinical versions of UbiVac’s proprietary DRibble immunotherapy for use in preclinical studies of oral cancer. Also known as DPV-001, DRibble is designed to use the patient’s own immune system to fight disease.

A privately held clinical stage immuno-oncology company, UbiVac will receive an up-front payment plus additional financial commitments contingent upon reaching predetermined research, development, and manufacturing milestones. Janssen Biotech has an option for further licensing and development of the DRibble immunotherapy.

Many oral cancers develop from oral leukoplakia, a white lesion that develops in the oral cavity and affects about 2% of the global population. According to the World Health Organization, 1% of these lesions progress to oral cancer annually. An immunotherapy that induces broad anti-cancer immunity and inhibits oral leukoplakia from transforming into oral cancer would represent a paradigm shift in treatment, the companies say.

“We are excited about this collaboration with Janssen to evaluate UbiVac’s DRibble technology as a potential approach for intercepting oral cancer,” said Bernard A. Fox, UbiVac CEO. “The development of a vaccine for cancer has long been a dream of UbiVac. This project provides a scientific partner and the resources that could make that dream a reality.”

DRibble is currently in a phase II randomized multicenter adjuvant study for non-small cell lung cancer. UbiVac also has ongoing preclinical and discovery programs using DRibble, nanoparticles, and spread-defective cytomegalovirus. The company is investigating DRibble’s use in prostate cancer, breast cancer, mesothelioma, and advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer as well.  

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