WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and OncoPep have entered a partnership to advance an experimental cancer vaccine to treat patients with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), an asymptomatic stage of myeloma.
The partnership is through LLS's Therapy Acceleration Program® (TAP), through which LLS forges collaborations with biotechnology companies to help bring therapies to patients faster.
OncoPep is developing a vaccine, PVX-410, designed to target tumor antigens associated with myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. The therapy was granted orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug in 2013. LLS has committed to an equity investment of $690K to help support the clinical development of the vaccine, the first half of which has been paid, and the second half to be paid upon the completion of patient enrollment.
To date, 12 patients have been treated with vaccine alone in the ongoing Phase 1/2a clinical trial of PVX-410, and the trial has been expanded to include a second treatment arm adding concurrent courses of lenalidomide. If this therapy advances, it would become the only clinical stage immunotherapy for SMM patients, whose current treatment paradigm is routine monitoring for progression through watchful waiting.
As part of the partnership, Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., LLS's chief scientific officer, will have an observer seat on OncoPep's board, and Keting Chu, M.D., Ph.D., LLS's vice president of research and head of its TAP program, will be a member of OncoPep's scientific advisory board.
"Despite significant progress in the treatment of myeloma, it still remains a very difficult, incurable blood cancer for many patients," said Greenberger. "LLS sees great potential in this novel approach to treating smoldering multiple myeloma, which is associated with a high risk of progression to symptomatic myeloma. We look forward to partnering with OncoPep on this project."
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society