Scancell in-licenses Vaccitech’s SNAPvax tech for cancer study

November 7, 2022 - 3 minutes
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Scancell Holdings plc, a developer of immunotherapies, today (November 7) announced it has in-licensed the SNAPvax technology from Vaccitech plc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies and vaccines.

The agreement will allow Scancell to formulate and manufacture Modi-2, with the aim of initiating a phase 1 clinical study in cancer patients in 2024.

Modi-2 is the second product from the company’s Moditope platform, which leverages the immune system to target a class of post-translational modifications (PTMs) upregulated by many cancers. The SNAPvax technology enables peptides to self-assemble with TLR-7/8a, a powerful adjuvant, to promote strong T cell responses. It is proven to successfully overcome formulation issues associated with immunogenic peptide antigens, which are often highly hydrophobic and prone to manufacturing challenges with conventional formulations.

Scancell Holdings in-license

Lindy Durrant, chief executive officer, Scancell, said: “We are pleased to partner with Vaccitech to take the second candidate from our Moditope platform through GMP and subsequent clinical development.

“With its elegant and effective solution, the SNAPvax technology provides an excellent method for formulation of the Modi-2 vaccine. Combining this technology with our expertise will allow us to develop a rapid manufacturing process for Modi-2, with the hope that we can bring it into a phase 1 clinical study during 2024.”

Modi-2 will use SNAPvax to co-deliver homocitrullinated peptide antigens and TLR-7/8a adjuvants in self-assembling nanoparticles designed to prime tumor killing T cells. The company expects that the combination of Scancell’s Modi-2 with a highly effective platform for inducing T cells – Vaccitech’s SNAPvax technology – will lead to a potentially superior therapeutic vaccine candidate.

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Cancer study

Scancell’s Moditope platform also consists of Modi-1, which is currently in a phase 1 clinical study. Modi-1 targets citrullinated proteins, in contrast to Modi-2 which targets homocitrullinated proteins.

Homocitrullination is a process that occurs by a different mechanism compared to citrullination and is therefore applicable to a distinct set of highly immune suppressed tumors. Scancell will leverage its deep understanding of T cell immunology and cancer immunotherapy together with its strong development capabilities to bring Modi-2 to clinical validation, adding value to the entire Moditope platform.

Dr Geoffrey Lynn, senior vice president of synthetic platforms at Vaccitech commented: “We are delighted that Scancell has selected our SNAPvax technology for the development of their Modi-2 product. SNAPvax was developed to overcome the challenges of formulating and delivering PTMs and ensure consistent formulations of any peptide antigens, for reliable T cell priming. Our team is therefore keen to support the development of this promising product with the hope that it will address immediate needs of cancer patients and more broadly highlight the promise of targeting PTMs.”

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