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Christmas came a few days early for Ultimovacs as the company was able to announce the initiation of its fourth phase II trial with universal vaccine UV1. The combination study, aimed at head and neck cancer patients indicated to receive checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab, will be conducted at 10 sites across Germany and led by renowned principal investigator Prof. Mascha Binder, M.D.

Norwegian biotech Ultimovacs is digging deep in the fight against cancer by developing a universal cancer vaccine. Their immuno-oncology candidate, UV1, has shown the ability to induce a strong enough immune response in patients to keep cancer from growing and spreading, and eventually kill any tumour.

The company has a broad clinical pipeline testing UV1 across a spectrum of cancer indications and in combination with other cancer therapeutic classes, such as checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs). So far, four phase I studies have either been completed or are ongoing, and two phase II proof-of-concept (PoC) trials, INITIUM and NIPU, are also ongoing. Meanwhile, a third phase II study was announced in May of this year, where Ultimovacs is collaborating with a yet undisclosed big pharma partner. Read more about UV1 and Ultimovac’s clinical pipeline here.

Fourth phase II trial on its way

Ultimovacs showed us yesterday that it has more up its sleeve, as the company announced it was initiating yet another phase II study with UV1. This trial, called FOCUS, will evaluate UV1 in 75 patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer who will be treated with checkpoint inhibitor (CPI) pembrolizumab.

Pembrolizumab is a standard of care immunotherapy currently used for the treatment of several cancers. Unfortunately, on its own, the efficacy is limited, and Ultimovacs is confident that UV1 can boost the efficacy of a standard cancer therapy, like pembrolizumab, in order to mount a strong immune response against the tumour while simultaneously eliminating the tumour’s ability to repress this response.

The FOCUS trial will be conducted at 10 sites across Germany and led by principal investigator Professor Mascha Binder, M.D., Medical Director and Head of the Immunological Tumor Group at University Medicine Halle in Germany. Professor Binder is a renowned oncology clinician and researcher specializing in the analysis of immuno-oncology treatments and their interaction with tumour tissues.

The professor expressed her excitement around this new study in a recent press release:

»This clinical trial is the extension of an earlier collaboration with Ultimovacs that introduced me to the therapeutic potential of the UV1 approach. I am excited to apply my own insights as well as my team’s expertise to this trial with the goal of potentially providing head and neck cancer patients with better treatment options«

Exciting times for Ultimovacs

With this new phase II trial on its way, Ultimovacs continues to show its strengths as a focused company with high ambitions, and a strong will to make a difference for cancer patients. This is further reflected in the market, as the company’s share price has increased 70 per cent in December – a sign that market expectations are high for Ultimovacs.

The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.

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