Today’s deal with Vaccibody suggests that Roche is convinced of a future for cancer vaccines. The two groups are to co-develop individualised neoantigen cancer vaccines for multiple tumour types based on Vaccibody’s VB10.NEO, a project where neoepitopes specific to a patient’s tumour are introduced to the patient. Theoretically this prompts a cellular immune response specific to neoantigens expressed by each patient’s cancer. Four years ago Roche cut a similar deal with Biontech, based on mRNA cancer vaccine technology. But in an indication of just how hard it is to get cancer vaccines to work the resulting project, RO7198457, only yielded data this June, and mediocre data at that. Though Vaccibody says VB10.NEO is exclusively licensed to Roche the vaccine is also in a multi-cancer phase I/II trial in combination with bempegaldesleukin, under an extension of a collaboration with Nektar dating from 2018. The trial recently completed enrolling 50 subjects and is scheduled to complete in March 2024, though data will likely emerge piecemeal; Roche will be hoping for stronger signals this time around.
|Selected neoantigen cancer vaccine deals|
|Date||Partners||Purpose of collaboration||Up-front + near-term payments ($)||Subsequent milestones ($)|
|Oct 1, 2020||Roche & Vaccibody||Develop neoantigen vaccines based on VB10.NEO in multiple cancers||200||510|
|Sep 20, 2018||Vaccibody & Nektar||Evaluate VB10.NEO + bempegaldesleukin in head & neck cancer||Not disclosed|
|Sep 21, 2016||Roche & Biontech||Develop mRNA vaccines targeting neoantigens based on Biontech's Mutanome platform for multiple cancers||310||Not disclosed|
|Source: company releases.|