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National Cancer Institute and Gritstone bio team up on vaccine

Neoantigen vaccine candidate, SLATE-KRAS has demonstrated early evidence of efficacy

Gritstone bio – a company focused on developing global vaccinations – has revealed that it has established a clinical trial partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The collaboration involves an evaluation of an autologous T cell therapy expressing a T cell receptor targeting mutated KRAS. It is also in combination with Gritstone’s KRAS-directed vaccine candidate, SLATE-KRAS.

Neoantigen vaccine candidate, SLATE-KRAS is an ‘off the shelf’ therapy and has demonstrated early evidence of efficacy as defined by molecular response in immune checkpoint blockade resistant or refractory subjects.

A phase 1 study is being led by Steven Rosenberg, chief of the surgery branch at the NCI’s Center for Cancer Research.

Following the agreement, NCI will identify patients with metastatic cancer that are eligible for adoptive cell transfer based on the presence of a G12V or G12D KRAS mutation. Thereafter, Gritstone will provide the SLATE-KRAS vaccine as requested by NCI as the trial unfolds.

Andrew Allen, president and chief executive officer at Gritstone bio, was optimistic about the partnership: “We are privileged to establish this collaboration with NCI and Dr Rosenberg, a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy and an expert in cell therapy.”

He added: “To date, cell therapy’s success in treating blood cancers has not translated to the more common solid tumours. There is a mechanistic synergy in having cell therapy and cancer vaccines in combination. We are thrilled to test this hypothesis in patients in collaboration with a leader in the cell therapy field. We look forward to collaborating with Dr Rosenberg and his team to generate proof-of-concept data from this promising study.”

Karin Jooss, executive vice president and head of R&D at Gritstone bio, explained: “The use of neoantigen vaccines to enhance the potency of neoantigen-directed T cell therapy is an attractive concept with supportive pre-clinical data.

“Our KRAS-directed vaccine has demonstrated the ability to induce and expand KRASmut-specific T cells and drive them into solid tumours in multiple clinical studies.”

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