NEW YORK, March 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via NetworkWire – NetworkNewsAudio (NNA), a NetworkNewsWire (NNW) Solution that delivers clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness in the investment community, today announces the online availability of its interview with BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. (BCTXF) (BCT.V), a client of NNW and immuno-oncology-focused biotechnology company developing targeted and safe approaches for the management of cancer.
The interview can be heard at http://nnw.fm/xCvB7
NNW’s Stuart Smith introduces BriaCell president and CEO Dr. Bill Williams in an interview that first highlights the company’s achievements in the clinical development of its lead cellular immunotherapy product, Bria-IMT(TM), that targets advanced breast cancer.
“It’s been a very, very exciting time at BriaCell. In 2018, we achieved a number of important milestones. We achieved proof of concept for our monotherapy, with Bria-IMT,” Dr. Williams states, describing the large unmet medical needs of advanced breast cancer and the market opportunity it presents.
Matching a patient’s human leukocyte antigen or HLA type with Bria-IMT’s cell line has produced promising results. HLAs are proteins or bio-markers used by an individual’s immune system to determine which cells belong and which ones do not. This same HLA-matching method is used to match transplant patients with donors. Dr. Williams notes that BriaCell has completed a 23-subject phase I/IIa trial of Bria-IMT in patients with advanced breast cancer with an excellent safety data and predicted efficacy in certain patients.
“We found out if patients had a single HLA match with Bria-IMT, we had a 22 percent tumor shrinkage rate. And if it was a double match, it was a 40 percent rate,” he adds. “So, we’re extremely excited about these results.”
The research team also noted the expression of the PDL1 molecule on cancer cells circulating in the blood of a vast majority of patients involved in the Bria-IMT clinical trial. This molecule is one of the targets of KEYTRUDA® (manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc.). BriaCell launched a combination study with KEYTRUDA® in the latter part of 2018.
“We now have safety data on six patients, and it looks very, very good in terms of safety. The only thing we are seeing is minor irritation at the injection site, which is completely expected, and we haven’t seen any related serious adverse events so far,” Dr. Williams says. “So we are very excited about that and we’ll be having some efficacy data on those patients coming out in the first quarter of this year.”
Dr. Williams describes BriaCell’s success in switching to a frozen formulation for its lead cancer drug candidate, explaining the tricky process involved in irradiating tumor cells to prevent replication while still keeping them alive in order to administer the therapy, wherever the patient may be.
“What we had been doing previously is taking our cancer cell line, irradiating it … and then shipping it overnight in a liquid form, basically on ice, to the clinical sites where the patients are being treated,” he explains. “And that’s a little tricky to do because you have to coordinate the radiation with the shipping with the patients.”
“A much simpler approach is to irradiate the cells in advance and freeze them in a viable form for transport to the clinical sites. This established technology is successfully used with bone marrow and cord blood donations, for instance,” Dr. Williams says. The new formulation has proved to be more convenient and manageable for BriaCell when it comes to timing and logistics, and a pleasantly surprising bonus was discovered in the process of creating the new formulation.
“We’ve noticed we have a much more potent therapy with this frozen formulation … so this has been a big plus to our program,” Dr. Williams says, adding that BriaCell plans to use the frozen formulation moving forward. BriaCell has been meeting with potential collaborators and has already conducted its first presentation to describe the mechanism of action of its monotherapy study with Bria-IMT in advanced breast cancer. BriaCell continues to gather new insights on completed studies as immune responses and test results are further analyzed, which includes noting “exciting information” about the company’s ongoing combination study with KEYTRUDA® that will be shared at upcoming oncology conferences.
The addition of recently-appointed BriaCell Director Jamieson Bondarenko, CFA, CMT, is seen as a real boon to the company. Bondarenko has been a significant, supporting stockholder and is now taking an active role on the board of directors as an expert in the capital markets arena.
“We’re going full barrel, full force into 2019,” Dr. Williams says. “We have ongoing discussions with multiple potential partners to form some corporate partnerships, and we’re very optimistic about those. We have preliminary efficacy data coming out on our first six patients in the KEYTRUDA® combination study, and then we have multiple opportunities to present at conferences to get the word out there.”
BriaCell is also developing Bria-OTS, an off-the-shelf personalized immunotherapy for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. This ongoing research offers hope to a greater number of cancer patients as it overcomes some of the logistical hurdles experienced in other personalized immunotherapies.
“We are taking our cell line and genetically engineering it to express multiple HLA types so that we will be able to single match over 99 percent of the population, and double match about 90 percent of the population,” Dr. William concludes. “So this is going to be an extremely exciting year for BriaCell as we progress Bria-OTS into the clinic and as we continue to make progress on our Bria-IMT program.”
BriaCell is an immuno-oncology focused biotechnology company developing targeted and safe approaches for the management of cancer.
BriaCell is currently conducting a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of Bria-IMT™, its lead candidate, in a combination study with pembrolizumab [KEYTRUDA®; manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)]. The combination study is listed in ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT03328026.
BriaCell is developing Bria-OTS™, an off-the-shelf personalized immunotherapy, for advanced breast cancer. Bria-OTS™ immunotherapy treatments are personalized to match the patient without the need for personalized manufacturing. Bria-OTS™, which is expected to cover over 90% of the patient population, is designed to produce a potent and selective immune response against the cancer of each patient while eliminating the time, expense and complex manufacturing logistics associated with other personalized immunotherapies.
For additional information on BriaCell, please visit website: http://www.briacell.com.
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