Immunovaccine: Delivering Breakthrough Vaccines




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Video title: Immunovaccine: Delivering Breakthrough Vaccines
Released on: July 18, 2012. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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  • Summary
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at #BIO2012 Convention in Boston, Fintan Walton talks to John Trizzino, CEO of Immunovaccine.
Focus on cancer therapy and infectious diseases vaccines
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO in Boston, in 2012. On this show I have John Trizzino, who is Chief Executive Officer of a company called Immunovaccine which is based in Canada, welcome.
John Trizzino:
Yes thank you Fintan, it's great to be here.
Fintan Walton:
John, you're you've just taken over recently back in October in fact as CEO of Immunovaccine as I said it's Canadian company, it's on the Toronto Stock Exchange?
John Trizzino:
Yes its right.
Fintan Walton:
Your joining the company was obviously an important point in it's history, but first of all just before we go to you yourself could you just give us a background of Immunovaccine and what that company is all about?
John Trizzino:
Immunovaccine is a Halifax, Nova Scotia based biotech company interesting historical perspective to the company it's technology that came out of a Dalhousie University interestingly as a single dose contraceptive to manage the seal population, the exploding seal population then had a technology that was evolved into that application and very successful, unfortunately in that particular case the application wasn't used on an ongoing basis what was the basis for a technology that developed another animal health program for us in the livestock and then ultimately in the companion animal business and then that evolved into a human health strategy about for cancer vaccines and infectious diseasevaccines.
DepoVax platform technology
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so the underlying technology is DepoVax, so what is DepoVax? What makes it a differentiated from all others?
John Trizzino:
Yes, so the DepoVax technology is a very novel technology, so I can't refer to it an adjuvanting technology platform the lot of people think simply as a adjuvant a motion and so we have a formulation that's a combination of an antigen and an adjuvant encapsulated in a liposome and then suspended in an oil and it's this very novel approach to adjuvanting that provides a very strong and robust and long lasting immune response that has significant applications in both cancer vaccines where it's a cellular target as well as infectious disease for invading infection viruses or bacteria and so we think that this is having a very significant effect on the body's immune system to defend against these various diseases.
Business model in vaccine area
Fintan Walton:
John, the vaccines business is a tough business, it's very competitive you've really got to understand that particular science but also the market extremely well, your own background you've had 16, 17 years in the vaccines business and that's really important for a company like yours which is trying to do global outreach, but in the end how does a small company relatively small company like yours compete in this particular space and part of that really is, is really to understand the business model that you've adopted for your company?
John Trizzino:
Well and it's very unique and you are right it is a tough business, but at the same time it's extraordinary full filling, I mean being in preventive healthcare and therapeutic healthcare in the case of cancer vaccines is very rewarding it's among cutting edge of science I have been involved with a number of companies in the development of seasonal influenza vaccines, pandemic influenza a variety of other pediatric vaccine programs and so that's exciting to be part of a company that has a novel new technology to help with vaccine candidates that tend to be more poorly what we refer to is poorly immunogenic so they need a little bit of an extra cap of boost in order to get the body's immune system to do what it's intended to do. So you know the vaccine business may be 10-years ago tended to be a little bit of the red headed stepchild of the pharma industry and now it's recognized a very important element of good healthcare, a good public healthcare policy around the globe whether it's for pediatric diseases, or adult diseases and certainly now in cancer immunotherapy where we are looking at a way to have the body's immune system defend against these micrometastases in our case to keep a patient inner mission and we are using a certain target in order to allow the body's immune system to stop these cancer cells from growing. So the positioning here is to use our foundational technology, partner with other companies who have these antigen targets create this formulation bring it into the clinic and demonstrate the success and efficacy of that particular candidate.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so you are not an antigen discovery company?
John Trizzino:
We are not, no. But we do have a couple of antigens so what we will do is we will either in license an antigen and we've done that in two instances on the cancer vaccine side, we've in licensed an antigen called survivin from Merck Serono [PharmaDeals ID = 36690] which was currently in development and on the infectious disease side we are collaborating with a number of antigen candidates that we would hope to either in license that antigen candidate or out license our DepoVax technology for that firm to use with their antigens. Like we did with Pfizer Animal Health for example where Pfizer Animal Health came to us and said we've got a couple of candidates that we believe would benefit from the DepoVax technology and we had out licensed our DepoVax technology to Pfizer Animal Health for their multiple livestock applications.
Fintan Walton:
So they will take that use that DepoVax you are not collaborating any specific way with them but you've handed them the technology for them to use in their strategical appliances?
John Trizzino:
That's right, we've licensed our technology for them to use a typical licensing arrangement, upfront milestones payments royalties for them to do the R&D development and then taking to commercial use and we have a particular candidate that we would hope would be in commercial use by 2014.
Products in pipeline
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so let's just look at the pipeline of candidates going through right now, could you describe the pipeline? What's it like?
John Trizzino:
Yes, so certainly again based upon the DepoVax adjuvanting technology platform we have product development efforts in cancer vaccines, so we have two one is a DPX-0907 which is what we've named that particular candidate, it's completed it's Phase I last year we've had some top-line results and some detailed information has been published on that particular Phase I, typically in Phase I's you are looking for the fact that it is well tolerated and that you are seeing an early antigen specific immune response so these tend to be smaller studies 25 or so patients in the trial and you getting an early indication so that you can use this data to move on to Phase II and Phase III trials. We also have another candidate based upon the survivin antigen and we've named that DPX-Survivac that is currently in process of a Phase I similar to what we did before you want to make sure that it's well tolerated and you want to make sure you are seeing an antigen specific response that will give you sufficient data's so that you could move along into a Phase II.
Partnership and colloboration strategy
Fintan Walton:
Right, so taking that business model little bit further how far you gonna take these candidates through or they already in collaboration with some of these some of the pharmaceutical companies, how where you adopted?
John Trizzino:
Yes, you know they are not yet, I think you know everybody talks about partnering strategies or funding strategies or exit strategies I think all of those things really have a lot of variability associated with them, I always like to talk about sustainable value creation at the end of the day when you are in biotech you've got to take a candidate into clinical trials and clinical trial data is what bolsters the confidence of that product development opportunity and if along the way you have an opportunity to partner that program because you've got good clinical data or to out right license that candidate then that just becomes a dynamic of moving that product along in clinical development. Our focus right now is to get good solid clinical data based around the science advance it into clinical trials and look for either non-dilutive funding mechanisms in order to advance that or strategic partnerships and certainly you know you use the public equity to help filling the balance of that effort.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so looking into the future then John, what do we see for Immunovaccine over the next few years?
John Trizzino:
Yes, you know I am really excited about what we are doing at Immunovaccine , I joined the company as you've said back in October of last year because I am excited about the technology, because I am excited about the prospect for this relatively small Canadian biotech company to succeed with it's platform technology to advance candidates into its cancer vaccine program and infectious disease and animal health and so I think we think a number of things I like to refer to is the dominos are stacked up now you just got to make sure that they fall over in the right direction. So I think the next 9 to 12 months will be critical news flow coming from the company, we have the Phase I clinical trial data that will be released by the end of the year. We are looking to advance our DPX-0907 candidate into a Phase II clinical trial, we have an NIH collaboration underway right now for a couple of biodefense vaccines candidates [PharmaDeals ID = 45550] that we hope to get some data from and a number of other infectious disease programs that we are hoping to further develop. So it's a very exciting time, we've got a solid team, we've got a great board that's evolved over the last 12 months or so and so significant and then very optimistic prospects for the future of Immunovaccine .
Fintan Walton:
John Trizzino, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
John Trizzino:
Fintan, I appreciate your time. Thank you for having me.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
John Trizzino
Chief Executive Officer and Director
At the time of recording this PTV interview John Trizzino serves as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Immunovaccine Inc. John Trizzino is a U.S. based senior executive with more than 25 years of experience advancing strategic initiatives for publicly traded biotechnology companies, primarily within the vaccine market. Prior to joining Immunovaccine , he was the Senior Vice President at Novavax Inc, where he provided strategic direction and successfully negotiated profitable joint venture and licensing agreements, including a $179M BARDA contract. Prior to joining Novavax, Mr. Trizzino held senior executive positions at MedImmune Inc, which was acquired by AstraZeneca, and ID BioMedical Inc, which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline Inc. He began his extensive career in vaccines at Henry Schein Inc leading commercial marketing efforts and executing a series of successful commercialization and distribution agreements. Mr. Trizzino is a graduate of Long Island University and received his master's degree in business administration from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Immunovaccine Inc
Immunovaccine Inc (TSX-V:IMV) is a clinical stage vaccine development company focused on advancing its patented DepoVax vaccine adjuvanting platform and product candidates for cancer therapy and infectious diseases . The DepoVax platform creates a unique depot that attracts antigen presenting cells to the injection site to potentially generate a rapid and robust immune response. Immunovaccine has taken its platform technology and proprietary cancer vaccine into Phase I human trials and has demonstrated its safety and immunogenicity potential. The Company is also capitalizing on the broad potential of its delivery platform by creating new DepoVax based vaccines through multiple development collaborations. In addition to the Company's human health vaccine strategy, it continues to capture value from animal health vaccine applications. Pfizer Animal Health has licensed the Company's platform to develop vaccines for livestock. Immunovaccine Inc's growth strategy is led by an experienced management and board, consisting of a former senior executive of Sanofi and a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.