SAN DIEGO -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCQB: ONCS), a company developing its ImmunoPulse DNA-based immunotherapy to treat solid tumors, today presented preliminary experimental findings demonstrating that electroporation with DNA-based IL-12 in mice can lead to systemic anti-tumor immune responses in distant untreated lesions. These data are consistent with the previously reported findings in melanoma patients treated in the Phase 2 OMSI100 study (December 2013).
Robert Pierce, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, presented the data and findings at the 10th Annual PEGS: The Essential Protein Engineering Summit at Seaport World Trade Center in Boston as part of a discussion titled “Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full? Potential Mechanisms of Non-Response to Immunomodulatory Antibodies.”
Dr. Pierce’s presentation focused on how understanding the mechanism of PD-1 non-responders creates an opportunity for new therapies to “convert” non-responders to responders, with the aim of extending the considerable benefit of immunotherapy to even more patients. OncoSec’s ImmunoPulse therapy with DNA-based IL-12 was used as an example of new therapies directed at driving the conversion of non-immunogenic tumors into immunogenic ones. The new mouse model data underscored the utility of a translational experimental model in exploring a drug’s mechanism of action, a requirement for rational combination therapies.
In brief, the syngeneic B16.F10 mouse melanoma tumor model was modified to allow the implantation of two tumors, one on the left and one on the right. The left-side tumors were treated with electroporation of mouse plasmid IL-12 and tumors on the right side were not treated, enabling the assessment of the therapy’s ability to cause distant anti-tumor effects. Tumor progression was assessed by caliper measurements and pathologic assessment of the H&E-stained slides. Forty-percent of the untreated tumors (4/10) showed brisk inflammatory infiltrate and pathologic changes of regression at day 18 or day 22 after electroporation. An IL-12-dependent TIL (tumor infiltrating lymphocyte) and interferon gamma response was confirmed in both treated and untreated tumors using a Nanostring™-based gene expression analysis.
“Although preliminary, our recent data underscores the importance of researching combination therapies using our ImmunoPulse technology with checkpoint inhibitors and immune activators to optimize their therapeutic effects,” said Punit Dhillon, President and CEO. “We now know – at least in regard to the ability of IL-12 to generate systemic anti-tumor immune responses – that it works in a manner consistent with what we have observed in patients. This study is demonstrating for the first time the mechanism by which DNA IL-12 may convert non-responding tumors to responding tumors using our ImmunoPulse technology.”
Dr. Pierce noted, “In my presentation, I described how understanding in vivo drug effects can lead to mechanistic insight as to how next-generation therapeutics can overcome ‘resistance.’ For example, if the key to turning anti-PD-1 non-responders into responders lies in driving a brisk CD8 TIL response, then this becomes an opportunity for novel approaches such as ImmunoPulse, which are aimed at augmenting the immunogenicity of the tumor.”
About the Study
Data collection stems from an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Richard Heller, Ph.D., OncoSec Scientific Advisory Board Member, as part of a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with Old Dominion University (ODU) and the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics. Under the agreement, OncoSec and the University agreed to collaborate on nonclinical research focused on developing new technology related to electroporation and the delivery of different agents into solid tumors by electroporation. Current experiments are focused on investigating combination-based approaches and gaining a comprehensive understanding of mechanism of action.
About PEGS: The Essential Protein Engineering Summit
PEGS will attract more than 1,800 attendees to Boston’s lively seaport district to participate in a variety of open forum discussions and collaborative affairs. This year’s summit will feature 20 conferences and 15 short courses. Dr. Pierce’s discussion will be a part of the Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 4th Annual Antibodies for Cancer Therapy conference. For more information, please visit http://www.pegsummit.com
About OncoSec Medical Inc.
OncoSec Medical Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing its ImmunoPulse immunotherapy to treat solid tumors. OncoSec Medical’s core technology leverages a proprietary electroporation platform to enhance the local delivery and uptake of IL-12 and other DNA-based immune-modulating agents. Clinical studies of ImmunoPulse have demonstrated an acceptable safety profile and preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity in the treatment of various skin cancers, as well as the potential to initiate a systemic immune response while minimizing the systemic toxicities associated with other treatments. OncoSec’s clinical programs currently include three Phase 2 trials targeting metastatic melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=oncosec&Search=Search). As the company continues to evaluate ImmunoPulse in these indications, it is also investigating additional indications and combination therapeutic approaches. For more information, please visit www.oncosec.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements in this release that are not historical facts may be considered such “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements are based on management’s current preliminary expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties, which may cause our results to differ materially and adversely from the statements contained herein. Some of the potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those predicted include our ability to raise additional funding, our ability to acquire, develop or commercialize new products, uncertainties inherent in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials, unexpected new data, safety and technical issues, competition, and market conditions. These and additional risks and uncertainties are more fully described in OncoSec Medical’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. OncoSec Medical disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events or circumstances after the date they are made, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.