Defence Announces Peer-Reviewed Publication On Accum-E7 Anti-Cancer Vaccine In Cancer Science Journal And Financing Update

Feb 29, 2024 | News Release

Vancouver, BC, Canada, February 29th 2024 – Defence Therapeutics Inc. (“Defence” or the “Company”), (CSE: DTC, OTCQB: DTCFF, FSE: DTC), one of the leading Canadian biotechnology companies working in the field of immune-oncology, is pleased to announce the publication of a peer-reviewed study on the anticancer properties of its dual Accum®-E7 vaccine, one of Defence’s experimental product designed to treat established cervical cancer. The study, which was published in the prestigious journal of Cancer Science, is entitled, “An engineered Accum®-E7 protein-based vaccine with dual anti-cervical cancer activity“, and can be directly accessed at the following address https://doi.org/10.1111/cas.16096.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause genital warts subsequently leading to cervical, anal, or head and neck cancers. Prophylactic HPV vaccines were therefore developed to prevent these infections and their associated complications. The most widely used of all four commercially available HPV vaccines is Gardasil-9®. However, this vaccine has challenges: it requires three doses and the vaccine manufacturing remains costly, which may be prohibitive to low-income countries. In addition, the vaccine cannot provide complete protection against all 14 high-risk HPV subtypes as it only targets 9 of them. Furthermore, the vaccine should be administered before HPV exposure implying that it cannot treat existing infections or established cervical cancer.  

The peer-reviewed study on Defence’s Accum®-E7 anti-cancer vaccine presents an engineered Accum®-E7 protein-based vaccine capable of providing a durable memory response when used prophylactically. In addition, the selection of E7 as a target “non-self” antigen widened the vaccine scope of application as it can also control the growth of pre-established cervical tumors through the generation of potent cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). “Overall, this engineered Accum®-E7 vaccine is safe, simple to engineer and manufacture making it an elixir candidate capable of providing both prophylactic and therapeutic activity against cervical cancer”, says Dr. Rafei, the Chief Scientific Officer of Defence Therapeutics. 

The key highlights of the Accum®-E7 study are:

  • Prophylactic vaccination using the Accum®-E7 vaccine confers complete protection despite multiple challenges. 
  • Accum®-E7 elicits antibodies capable of interfering with cancer cell proliferation in vitro.
  • Therapeutic vaccination using Accum®-E7 synergises with multiple immune-checkpoint inhibitors.
  • The therapeutic effect of Accum®-E7 relies on cross-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) and CD8 T cells.
  • Vaccination using Accum®-E7 is safe and immunogenic as shown in the conducted GLP study. 

“This prestigious peer-reviewed publication provides an additional example of how the Accum® technology can be exploited in the development of vaccines. It also opens up a new line of investigations where Defence’s more potent Accum® variants could be tested as bioconjugates to protein antigens,” said Mr. Plouffe, Chief Executive Officer of Defence Therapeutics. 

In summary, our study shows that Accum®-E7: i) provides potent protection (prophylactic vaccination) and durable memory responses, ii) triggers antibodies exhibiting a non-negligible role in fighting cervical tumors, iii), controls established tumors when delivered in combination with several immune-checkpoint inhibitors (therapeutic vaccination), and iv) is relatively safe, well tolerated and immunogenic by animals even when used at higher doses (GLP study).

Financing Update

The Company also provides an update to its previously announced non-brokered private placement of up to 1,500,000 units of the Company (each a “Unit”) at a price of $1.50 per Unit for gross proceeds of up to $2,250,000 (the “Offering”). Following the first tranche closing of 567,000 Units for aggregate proceeds of $850,500 on January 30th, 2024, the Company has received a 45-day extension from the Canadian Securities Exchange to complete the Offering.

About Defence:

Defence Therapeutics is a publicly-traded biotechnology company working on engineering the next generation vaccines and ADC products using its proprietary platform. The core of Defence Therapeutics platform is the ACCUMTM technology, which enables precision delivery of vaccine antigens or ADCs in their intact form to target cells. As a result, increased efficacy and potency can be reached against catastrophic illness such as cancer and infectious diseases.

For further information:

Sebastien Plouffe, President, CEO and Director

P: (514) 947-2272
Splouffe@defencetherapeutics.com
www.defencetherapeutics.com

Cautionary Statement Regarding “Forward-Looking” Information

This release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address events or developments that the Company expects to occur, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words "expects", "plans", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "projects", "potential" and similar expressions, or that events or conditions "will", "would", "may", "could" or "should" occur. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include regulatory actions, market prices, and continued availability of capital and financing, and general economic, market or business conditions. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, estimates and opinions of the Company's management on the date the statements are made. Except as required by applicable securities laws, the Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management's beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change. Neither the CSE nor its market regulator, as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE, accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.