Scancell’s DNA vaccine shows promising results in phase 2 trial for skin cancer

scancell, dna vaccine, skin cancer, melanoma, scib1, phase 2 trial, survival rate

Scancell’s shareholders are enjoying a prosperous week as the biotech company’s stock surged by 20%, driven by promising preliminary data from its phase 2 cancer vaccine trial.

In the study’s first stage, Scancell’s DNA vaccine, known as SCIB1, achieved an impressive 82% response rate among 11 patients with advanced melanoma when used in conjunction with checkpoint inhibitors. This exceeded the trial’s objective response rate (ORR) milestone of 70%, set by the Oxford-based company. The trial aimed to assess whether the vaccine could induce new or enhance existing immune responses, which could then be protected within the tumor environment using checkpoint inhibitors like Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo and Yervoy.

The patients received SCIB1 via a needle-free device, and among the nine patients who exhibited a response based on radiological imaging at a 13-week evaluation, tumor volume reduction ranged from 31% to 94%. Scancell is striving to surpass the 50% ORR achieved by the Opdivo-Yervoy combination alone.

While these early-stage results have spurred investor excitement and led to a 20% surge in the company’s stock, Scancell’s share price remains relatively modest at 15 pence as of the latest update.

“We are excited by these highly impressive results for SCIB1 combined with the doublet CPI therapy. We thought results from the Phase 1/2 trial evaluating SCIB1 as a monotherapy were positive but results from this combination are even more meaningful. Previous studies indicated that a response rate of 50% was the best that could be achieved in the real world setting for patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma, as no other combination had improved on the response rates for doublet CPI alone. Confirmation of this data in a larger cohort could make a significant impact on melanoma patient survival, especially as melanoma is now one of the most common cancers in young women.”

– Prof Lindy Durrant, Chief Executive Officer of Scancell

The SCOPE trial, which aims to enroll a total of 87 participants, was approximately 75% recruited as of July. Scancell anticipated that initial top-line data from the trial would be available in the final quarter of the year.

In addition to SCIB1, the company is also conducting a phase 2 dose-expansion trial for another cancer vaccine called Modi-1. This trial, testing the vaccine both as a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors, is focused on ovarian, triple-negative breast, renal, and head and neck cancers and is expected to report results next year.

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