NEW YORK, June 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Leveraging VaxCelerate, a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) platform licensed exclusively to Voltron Therapeutics by Partners HealthCare, the goal of the collaboration is to optimize the dosing and development of potent compounds that inhibit tumor growth in mice in the treatment of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) induced malignancy and Ovarian cancer.
In prior research, the SAV, when combined with a checkpoint inhibitor in a model of HPV-induced cancer, demonstrated a significant improvement in survival over either agent alone or combined. Based on these preliminary findings, several aspects of the protein core of the vaccine construct were re-engineered to optimize its ability to bind targets on cancer cells. These new Voltron Therapeutics sponsored preclinical studies set out to underscore the SAV’s safety and efficacy track record and position it for human trials.
Dr. Mark Poznansky, Director, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, MGH stated, “The self-assembling vaccine, co-invented with my colleague Dr. Jeffrey Gelfand, has been designed to be highly adaptable, designed for safety and allows for seamless modifications in order to target specific proteins found in tumor cells. Leveraging the protein HSP70, we are able to determine the quantity and timing of vaccination that best induces T-cell responses and explore the maximized benefit from vaccine induced anti-tumor immunity.”
The SAV program has intellectual property surrounding composition of matter. The vaccine incorporates a heat shock protein that activates the immune system, bound to targeting peptides. The base core technology relies on synthesizing the heat shock protein with Avidin. Biotinylated immunogenic peptides are then bound to the HSP to customize the vaccine.
“Voltron Therapeutics is excited to continue our groundbreaking work with the VIC by supporting ongoing research dedicated to our Oncology program and the advancement of the VaxCelerate platform to develop vaccines to fight a range of cancers,” said Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Voltron Therapeutics. “The resources at the VIC and MGH to support vaccine development and innovation are instrumental in helping us advance this important work. We are hopeful that further development, pre-clinical testing and additional proof of concept results could lead to first in human trials in 2021 and ultimately make a significant and lasting difference in the treatment of cancer patients.”
Additionally, Voltron Therapeutics has closed on $3.5 million in a Series-A Preferred funding round. The funds raised will be used to accelerate the development of SAV technology and expansion of the Company’s vaccine portfolio.
“This funding for Voltron Therapeutics will allow the company to conclude preclinical work as it moves toward human trials with the self-assembling vaccine,” added James Ahern, Founder of Laidlaw Venture Partners, and member of the Voltron Therapeutics Board of Directors. “We at LVP are committed to continuing to support Voltron as it progresses the SAV portfolio into clinical development, with financial sponsorship and leverage of our expert network.”
Voltron Therapeutics and MGH have a longstanding relationship for the development of vaccines to fight infectious diseases and cancer. Recently, Voltron Therapeutics announced a separate joint agreement to advance an application of the VaxCelerate platform to develop a vaccine designed to protect patients at risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. This vaccine will be entering animal testing this quarter. Currently, preclinical data exists in two different infectious disease settings with encouraging results. The COVID-19 vaccine could be in humans by late 2020/early 2021.
About Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.
Voltron Therapeutics, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was founded in 2017 to lead and accelerate the development of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC), and the Massachusetts General Hospital’s novel Self Assembling Vaccine technology in a variety of indications, including in Oncology and emerging Infectious Diseases. Voltron holds an exclusive worldwide license to this technology. With the work of our world class team of researchers and physicians, this technology has shown in certain pre-clinical studies initial proof of concept in two infectious diseases (Lassa Fever and Q Fever) as well as two oncology indications (Ovarian and HPV Related). For more information please visit www.voltrontx.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements that relate to the advancement and development of the VaxCelerate Platform, the commencement of clinical trials, the availability of data from clinical trials and other information that is not historical information. When used herein, words such as “anticipate”, “being”, “will”, “plan”, “may”, “continue”, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements or information that refer to expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, performance or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking. All forward-looking statements are based upon Voltron’s current expectations and various assumptions. Voltron believes there is a reasonable basis for its expectations and beliefs, but they are inherently uncertain. Voltron may not realize its expectations, and its beliefs may not prove correct. Actual results could differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, market conditions and any Voltron filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, forward-looking statements should be regarded solely as Voltron’s current plans, estimates and beliefs. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Voltron cannot guarantee future results, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Voltron does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update, republish, or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law.
Matt Duffy, President