developing therapeutic cancer vaccines

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ViciniVax is a Dutch clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. It is a spin-off from the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands, developing therapeutic cancer vaccines. 

Our first product candidate Vvax001, a therapeutic cancer vaccine against (pre)malignant cervical lesions, is currently in Phase I clinical development.

Cervical cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. 
Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection has been recognized as the necessary cause of premalignant cervical lesions (so called CIN2/3) and cervical cancer. HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease, affecting about 400 million women worldwide. Most infections are spontaneously eliminated in less than one year. However, persistent HPV infection can lead to CIN2/3 and then to cervical cancer. Worldwide, CIN2/3 hits 7 million women, while cervical cancer affects 0.5 million women each year leading to more than 270 thousand deaths.

Current treatment for CIN2/3 relies primarily on surgery, which is highly discomforting and carry a risk of serious complications like bleeding, cervical stenosis and cervical incompetence, leading to infertility. Above all, it does not eradicate the underlying HPV infection. 

Therapeutic vaccination offers an attractive alternative to the current surgical options for treating premalignant lesions; it can address the underlying HPV infection as well as all HPV-associated lesions regardless of location, and induce long-lasting immunity, thus preventing recurrence.

ViciniVax’ product candidate Vvax001 is a recombinant viral vector, specifically modified to elicit a strong immunological anti-tumor response after vaccination. We demonstrated in mice that Vvax001 induces robust HPV-specific cellular immune and memory responses, resulting in excellent therapeutic anti-tumor efficacy. 

Supported by the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), the Dutch Cancer Society, our founders and our seed investors Hanzepoort, KCF fund and the Smid Fonds, a first financing round was closed in 2011 enabling development of Vvax001 towards clinical testing. Process development, GMP manufacturing and non-clinical safety studies have been completed, and the first clinical trial has been initiated in Q4-2016.