Genocea Biosciences (GNCA) Presents New Findings Supporting Potential of ATLAS

November 11, 2016 8:43 AM EST

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Genocea Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNCA), a company developing T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies, today presented new findings supporting the potential of ATLASTM, the Company’s proprietary rapid antigen identification screening system, to identify clinically meaningful personalized neoantigens that could guide development of neoantigen vaccines. This study, conducted in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), analyzed neoantigens in one non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient successfully treated with pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®) and will be presented at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 31st Annual Meeting & Associated Programs in National Harbor, Maryland on Saturday, November 12, 2016.

Genocea’s ATLAS technology screened 103 patient-specific tumor mutations with the patient’s own T cells to determine which were true neoantigens and potentially contributing to their anti-tumor immune response. Specifically, ATLAS discovered several neoantigens as biologically relevant T cell targets associated with significant cytotoxic T cell responses. Many of the neoantigens were not identified by commonly used predictive computer algorithms. Furthermore, the majority of neoantigens that were identified by those algorithms were not associated with meaningful T cell responses in ATLAS. Additionally, multiple neoantigens were identified by ATLAS that were associated with a downregulation of immune response. (Poster #374: Genome-scale neoantigen using ATLASTM prioritizes candidates for immunotherapy in a non-small cell lung cancer patient). As part of this ongoing collaboration, further analysis of multiple additional patient tumor samples will be conducted.

“These data are the first evidence that personalized neoantigens can be comprehensively identified using functional evidence of T cell responses through ATLAS,” said Jessica Baker Flechtner, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Genocea. “The differences between neoantigens identified by ATLAS and those noted by standard predictive algorithms reinforces the weaknesses of these algorithms and the potential for ATLAS to find better neoantigens. We believe that by improving antigen selection we can develop more effective cancer vaccines.”

Genocea’s proprietary ATLAS technology comprehensively re-creates a patient’s actual T cell immune response to cancer ex vivo. This means ATLAS can potentially identify – not just predict – targets to which patient T cells are responding to kill a tumor. It may also allow ATLAS to distinguish between neoantigen candidates that stimulate productive T cell responses and those that are irrelevant or are associated with inhibitory responses.

“For the immune system’s T cells to effectively activate tumor destruction, they must first recognize antigens that direct them to specific, impactful targets at the site of the tumor. If this system fails, disease can progress,” said Timothy A. Chan, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology at MSK. “These findings support the hypothesis that next-generation personalized T cell immunotherapies with biologically evidenced neoantigens may improve outcomes for patients for whom current therapies are ineffective.”

The collaboration between Genocea and Timothy A. Chan, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, and Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, Department of Medicine and Ludwig Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will seek to further validate these findings in ongoing studies and continue to provide a meaningfully different picture of relevant – and potentially inhibitory – antigens than traditional methods currently produce.



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