Vancouver, BC, Canada, September 12th, 2023 – Defence Therapeutics Inc. (“Defence” or the “Company”), one of the leading Canadian biotechnology companies, is pleased to announce its continuation to bringing innovative strategies aimed at targeting various indications related to immune-oncology.
Whether using an antibody, cell-based vaccine or small molecule therapeutics, the common denominator in all of Defence’s development products is the Accum® technology, a platform specifically designed to strategically enhance and increase the efficacy of any existing bio-drug against cancer. This Accum® technology can be exploited to design a multitude of products including: i) antibody-drug conjugates (“ADCs”), ii) protein/cellular vaccines, and iii) the design of anti-cancer small chemotypes.
The Accum®-ADC program
ADCs were originally made to target breast cancer. The treatment regimens used with these ADCs usually require large doses, while the therapeutic response is limited or weak. By bio-conjugating ADCs with Accum®, Defence has demonstrated improved potency of commercially available ADCs by 20 to 100 folds. Although Defence is using this approach to optimize commercially available ADCs such as Enhertu®, the company is actively working on developing two in-house ADCs using its own proprietary monoclonal antibodies targeting two tumor-specific cell surface proteins and payloads. In addition, Defence is partnering with Orano, a world-renowned multinational company, to develop the next-generation radio-immunoconjugates using Defence’s intracellular targeting Accum® technology to provide distinctive best-in-class ADC therapies.
Protein- and cell-based vaccines targeting cancer
Although ADCs represent great tools to directly attack and kill cancer cells, they are ideal against a hand-full types of cancer and lack the ability to trigger a long-lasting memory response. This forms the basis of Defence’s vaccine program. Defence engineered and tested a dual acting vaccine targeting cervical cancer. In this context, the term “dual” refers to the vaccine ability to protect and/or treat established cervical (or head and neck – also induced by HPV) cancer. This protein-based vaccine is based on the use of a single protein (in contrast to a mix of 9 viral-derived capsid proteins). In preclinical models, Defence demonstrated that the vaccine synergises with various immune-checkpoint blockers resulting in survival rate between 70 and 100%. With the completion of all GLP studies, Defence is actively working to manufacture the vaccine to initiate a Phase I clinical trial against head and neck cancer in 2024, either by itself or in partnership.
Another successful Defence’s vaccine example demonstrating yet again the versatility of the Accum® technology is the design of the ARM vaccine, relying on the use of a type of stem cell pharmacologically re-programmed to behave as antigen presenting cells. The use of this universal off-the shelf vaccine has shown impressive cure rates (80-100%) in solid T-cell lymphoma and melanoma models. In parallel to its manufacturing for Phase I clinical trial targeted in Q1 of 2024, Defence is currently testing the vaccine against two hard-to-treat diseases: pancreatic and ovarian cancer. What makes the ARM vaccine special could be summarized in twofold: i) its impressive therapeutic potency, and ii) its adaptability to treat any solid or liquid tumor given granted access to patients-tumor samples.
The AccuTOXTM program: a new line of anti-cancer therapeutics
Although the goal of using Accum® has been mostly to improve biomolecules accumulation in target cells, the Defence team discovered that delivery of unconjugated Accum® or its derivatives can exert potent anti-cancer properties. This observation gave rise to the AccuTOXTM moiety, a lead Accum® variant capable of halting pre-established lymphoma, melanoma and cervical cancer when give with different immune-checkpoint blockers. More specifically, the AccuTOXTM was shown to cause DNA damage and trigger a form of immunogenic cell death capable of activating the immune system in parallel. AccuTOXTM destroys tumor cells from the inside-out and stimulate an immune response to protect the host from subsequent tumor re-growth. With manufacturing fully completed, IND filling is expected in Q4 of 2023 to start a Phase I clinical trial against a basket of solid tumors at City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute.
Accum Drug the Undruggable®
Defence Therapeutics® is on the verge of very important inflection points. Its pipeline is well positioned to prevent cancer and/or enhance the efficacy of any bio-drug designed to target cancer. With all these products and an active program on mRNA cancer vaccines, Defence is in a strong position to truly make a difference in helping reduce cancer death rate. Defence is focussing and dedicating its leadership against one of the biggest enemies of humanity: cancer.
According Market.us, the global oncology market recorded a valuation of USD 208 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 628 billion by the end of 2032, expanding at a CAGR of 12% over the decade.
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
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.