Cancer vaccines are designed to train the immune system to attack cancer cells. To create a cancer vaccine candidate, antigens specific to cancer cells (cancer neo-antigens) are combined with a delivery vehicle. The presence of a cancer antigen in the context of this “delivery vehicle” alerts the immune system that the antigen is detrimental and should be eliminated from the body.
At Agenus, we are developing “personalized” vaccines (ProphageTM & AutoSynVaxTM) containing cancer neo-antigens that are specific to a given patient and “off-the-shelf” vaccines (PhosphoSynVaxTM) containing cancer neo-antigens we believe to be widely expressed across tumors. Our neoantigen vaccines are designed with unique features, each conferring important advantages:
- Proprietary methods to develop an effective and relevant “blueprint” of immunogenic neoantigens for each patient
- Heat shock proteins (HSPs) to efficiently deliver neoantigens to the right immune cells to activate an anti-cancer immune response. Our proprietary linker technology enables efficient neoantigen loading for a robust cancer specific immune response with 10X less peptide
- QS-21 Stimulon®, a potent immune stimulator now in GSK’s approved and highly efficacious shingles vaccine, SHINGRIX® (up to 97% effective).
Selecting Tumor targets for our Vaccines:
Our proprietary algorithms help us select Neoantigen Tumor Targets for our vaccines. Using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, cloud computing and our cutting-edge proprietary bioinformatics capabilities, we rapidly profile each patient’s tumor to accurately identify the exact DNA mutations that are in the tumor cells but not in healthy cells. Next, our proprietary Agenus Immunogenic Mutation (AIM™) algorithms sift through the terabytes of DNA data to find mutations that are present throughout the tumor and predicted to be seen by the patient’s own immune system for effective vaccine design.