OncoPep, Inc. was founded in 2010 to commercialize a novel approach to developing targeted immunotherapeutics against cancer. The Company’s proprietary core technology was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Kenneth Anderson, M.D., a world leader in cancer treatment, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The technology, which OncoPep has exclusively licensed from Dana Farber, employs a unique combination of proprietary peptides to form a therapeutic cancer vaccine. Vaccines developed from this technology are designed to stimulate the patient’s immune system to attack his or her cancer through an optimized combination of disease-specific peptides and adjuvants (substances that stimulate the immune system). Strong scientific rationale exists for this multi-peptide approach.
OncoPep’s lead program, PVX-410, is a multi-peptide therapeutic cancer vaccine that is designed to target specific antigens found on the surface of multiple myeloma (MM) cancer cells. MM is a cancer of the plasma cells for which there is currently no cure. The initial clinical target is smoldering multiple myeloma, a precursor disease to MM for which there are no approved treatments. PVX-410 was granted orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2013.
The Company initiated a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in the U.S. for PVX-410 in smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) in January 2013. The study is actively recruiting patients with a confirmed diagnosis of SMM.
To date, OncoPep has been financed by angel groups, family foundations, individuals and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). LLS’ decision to participate in the financing round resulted from a review of OncoPep’s application for funding from LLS’ Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), which identifies therapies that have the potential to change the standard of care for patients with blood cancers.