Vaccibody’s lead product cancidate VB10.16 is a DNA based immunotherapy targeting malignancies caused by Human Papilloma Virus 16 (HPV16). HPV16 is a major contributor to several cancers, including Cervical, Vulvar, Anal and Head and Neck Cancer.
Vaccibody is currently testing VB10.16 in a first-in human study with the title “An exploratory, safety and immunogenicity study of the human papillomavirus (HPV16) immunotherapy VB10.16 in women with high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (HSIL; CIN 2/3)”. See here for more information.
Earlier stages of HPV16 infection as well as other cancers induced by HPV may be treated with the same vaccine. A clinical proof of concept with Vaccibody’s first candidate VB10.16 may therefore open up for opportunities in a number of cancer indications.
Per year approximately 530,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and over 275,000 women die of the disease annually. Invasive cervical cancer is preceded by a long phase of pre-invasive disease called Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN). Globally the number of high grade lesions (CIN 2/3) the immediate precursors to malignancy, is estimated to be in the range of 10 million.
Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by high risk HPV types. Among the different high risk HPV types known, HPV16 has been reported to be the most common genotype in high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. It can be detected in up to 60 % of all cervical cancers, especially in younger women and it has also been found to play an essential role in the development of several other cancer types (approximately 90% of anal cancers; 40% of penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers; 25% of oral cavity cancers and 35% of oropharyngeal cancers).
Current standard therapy for CIN 2/3 varies between countries and regions and often involves surgical removal of the affected tissue. These invasive procedures are associated with bleeding, infection, cervical stenosis, scarring and most importantly pre-term deliveries in subsequent pregnancies. As a result, there is a significant need for an effective therapeutic vaccine to treat existing HPV infection and associated pre-malignancies and malignancies of the cervix and thereby prevent the development of cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus.