Acuvax Ltd (ASX: ACU) is in the process of acquiring Biolife Science Ltd, which is developing a vaccine for breast and gastric cancers. On 22 March 2013, Acuvax shareholders voted overwhlemingly to approve the acquisition of Biolife and to raise $5m to fund Phase 2 trials of the vaccine.
The shares of Acuvax are currently suspended from ASX pending the completion of the capital raising, the consolidation of shares and re-admission to ASX.
Biolife has secured the rights to acquire intellectual property related to the development of a vaccine for HER-2 positive cancers. HER-2 is a receptor that is responsible for regulating cell division and, when over-expressed, results in uncontrolled cell division.
The vaccine, known as HER-Vaxx, comprise three peptides that, when injected, induce the body's B cells to produce a regular stream of polyclonal antibodies that block the HER-2 signalling mechanism.
HER-2 is over-expressed in approximately 15% of invasive breast cancers, 54-100% of colorectal cancers, 25% of ovarian cancers, 17-82% of pancreatic cancers and 34% of prostate cancers.
The current primary treatment is a monoclonal antibody, such as Herceptin, combined with chemotherapy. Herceptin has annual sales of over US$5 billion. HER-Vaxx is designed to act in a similar fashion to Herceptin but is also designed to bind to other epitopes on the receptor giving it the potential to be more effective, longer lasting and, therefore, more cost effective.
To view the Acuvax corporate presentation click here
To view the RM Research report click here