News Feature | July 3, 2014

Agenus' GBM Vaccine Extends Patient Survival In Phase 2 Trial

By Estel Grace Masangkay


Agenus announced positive final results from its Phase II trial investigating Prophage autologous cancer vaccine added to the standard of care treatment in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Prophage is an autologous cancer vaccine, which is derived from a patient’s own tumor. The Prophage Series vaccine carries antigenic fingerprints — exact signals of the patient’s cancer and enables the immune system to target cells bearing that unique mark. The approach offers individual tailoring of a vaccine to a patient’s own immune attack on their tumor.

In the Phase II study, half of patients lived almost twice as long as expected with two years’ survival instead of the typical one year. Prophage patients showed a median overall survival of an estimated 24 months. A third of patients remains alive at two years and are still followed up for survival.

Andrew Parsa, principal investigator of the study, said, “These data suggest that Prophage is generating an effective immune response which is translating into an extension in survival far beyond what is historically seen in patients with GBM. These data provide the impetus for a definitive, randomized clinical trial. Glioblastoma tumors are often resistant to standard therapies and the extended progression-free survival and proportion of long- term survivors is very encouraging.” Professor Parsa is the Michael J. Marchese Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common primary malignant brain tumor and is responsible for the majority of brain and central nervous system cancers. GBM is linked with very poor survival rates of 33.7 percent at one year and 4.5 percent at five years. Current treatment options for GBM, such as surgery and chemotherapy, are not curative. The majority of patients with GBM experience recurrent disease.

Garo Armen, CEO and chairman of Agenus, said “We are excited about the potential combinations of Prophage with PD-1 antagonists and other checkpoint modulators in GBM.” Armen stated that the company is examining potential partnerships for the vaccine’s Phase III study in GBM.