Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU) continues to monitor expenditure carefully but is well-placed to implement key clinical trials anticipated to take place later in 2020.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, expenditure has been below forecast, however, the company has a strong balance sheet in place and is funded to support its commercial and clinical milestones.
While Imugene continues to progress four clinical programs, the business expects to see an increase in expenditure but the management team will continue to manage costs effectively.
Progress is being made with two clinical trials, oncolytic virotherapy CF33 and PD1-Vaxx, the anti PD-1 B cell immunotherapy.
Imugene's PD1-Vaxx is a B-cell immunotherapy, peptide cancer vaccine designed to treat tumours such as lung cancer.
This will be trialled in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for around 80% of cases.
The study is planned to begin in 2020 and will be conducted at up to 6-10 sites in North America and Australia under a US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational New Drug (IND) application.
HER-Vaxx, which is targeting HER-2 positive gastric cancer, is continuing to enrol the open-label Phase-2 study while waiting on patients to review the provisional safety data.
The Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) will review this data.
As of March 31, Imugene had $33.7 million in the bank.
Breast cancer publication
Another paper from Imugene's City of Hope colleagues led by Professor Yuman Fong was published in Oncoimmunology titled, 'Oncolytic poxvirus CF33-hNIS-ΔF14.5 favorably modulates tumor immune microenvironment and works synergistically with anti-PD-L1 antibody in a triple-negative breast cancer model'.
World-leading breast cancer specialist at Bart’s Cancer Institute in London, Professor Peter Schmid and Imugene’s Scientific Advisory Board member said oncolytic viruses had enormous therapeutic potential against cancer.
“In their important study, Yuman Fong and colleagues demonstrated promising preclinical effects of the novel oncolytic poxvirus CF33-hNIS-ΔF14.5 in triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive subtype of breast cancer with limited targeted treatment options.
“Fong showed that treatment with CF33-hNIS-ΔF14.5 favourably modulates the tumour immune microenvironment through significant upregulation of PD-L1, a critical determinant of response to cancer immunotherapy, as well as increased tumour infiltration with immune cells.
“More importantly, combining CF33-hNIS-ΔF14.5 with standard immune checkpoint inhibitors resulted in a significantly improved anti-cancer efficacy, leading to lasting complete tumour regressions in 50% of cases.
“These results are very encouraging and demonstrate the potential of CF33-hNIS-ΔF14.5 to make triple-negative breast cancers more responsive to cancer immunotherapy.”