UbiVac, www.ubivac.com, a privately held clinical stage Immuno-Oncology company, has recently announced collaboration with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. This new collaboration will help UbiVac develop new preclinical and clinical versions of its proprietary DRibble® immunotherapy for use in preclinical studies of oral cancer.
The Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California facilitated the research agreement on behalf of the Janssen Disease Interception Accelerator.
UbiVac is a clinical stage Immuno-Oncology company engaged in development of immunotherapies to combat cancer. UbiVac’s DPV-001 is currently in a phase II randomized multicenter adjuvant study for non-small cell lung cancer. UbiVac has ongoing preclinical and discovery programs using DRibble®, nanoparticles and spread-defective Cytomegalovirus (sdCMV). Founded in Portland, Ore. in 2005, by Drs. Bernard A Fox and Hong-Ming Hu, UbiVac is a spinout of the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Portland Medical Center. In 2011 UbiVac, in cooperation with Oregon Health & Science University, created UbiVac CMV to license sdCMV.
UbiVac will receive an upfront payment, plus additional financial commitments, contingent upon reaching certain pre-determined research, development and manufacturing milestones. In addition to funding the research, Janssen has an option for further development and licensing of the new DRibble immunotherapy.
Many oral cancers develop from oral leukoplakia, a white lesion that develops in the oral cavity and is estimated to affect 2 percent of the global population. The World Health Organization defines this as a potentially malignant condition, with 1 percent of lesions progressing to oral cancer annually. It is unknown if surgical excision eliminates the risk of developing oral cancer. Thus, development of an immunotherapy that induced broad anti-cancer immunity and inhibited oral leukoplakia from transforming into oral cancer would represent a paradigm shift for treating this disease.
We are excited about this collaboration with Janssen to evaluate UbiVac’s Dribble technology as a potential approach for intercepting oral cancer,” Bernard A. Fox, chief executive officer, UbiVac said. “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.”