HOOKIPA Pharma (HOOK) pre-clinical data on alternating 2-vector cancer therapeutics published in Cell Reports Medicine

March 4, 2021 7:04 AM EST

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HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: HOOK, ‘HOOKIPA’), a company developing a new class of immunotherapeutics based on its proprietary arenavirus platform, today announced the publication of pre-clinical data highlighting the potential of its alternating 2-vector, intravenously administered cancer therapeutics in the peer-reviewed journal, Cell Reports Medicine. The publication, which is available online now, will appear in the 16 March print issue.

“The pre-clinical data published in Cell Reports Medicine underscore the potential of our engineered arenavirus platform to redefine success in cancer immunotherapy. Specifically, our alternating 2-vector approach delivered a substantial tumor-specific response, resulting in tumor cures and long-term anti-tumor immunity in a pre-clinical setting,” said Joern Aldag, Chief Executive Officer at HOOKIPA. “The data in this peer-reviewed publication provide the scientific substantiation for the ongoing clinical trial of the alternating 2-vector therapy for Human Papillomavirus 16-positive (HPV16+) cancers as well as for advancing to prostate cancer.”

Pre-clinical data featured in the article showed that intravenous, alternating administration of two different replicating arenaviral vectors that express the same antigen induces potent T cell response, exceeding 50% of the circulating T cell pool, and robust anti-tumor activity. The anti-tumor activity and very high T cell generation were demonstrated both with onco-viral antigens and also with a cancer self-antigen, illustrating the ability of the arenaviral platform to break tolerance.

Other key highlights from the paper include:

  • Single-vector and alternating 2-vector therapy did not induce vector-neutralizing antibodies, supporting repeated intravenous administration
  • Mice that cleared tumors after therapy were protected from tumor re-challenge
  • Expanding on the data observed with single-vector therapy, alternating 2-vector therapy induced an even higher T cell response and more efficient tumor control

The study on which this publication is based, was conducted and led by an international group of researchers at the University of Basel.

HOOKIPA is evaluating its single-vector and alternating 2-vector technologies in the ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial of its lead oncology candidates, HB-201 and HB-202. HB-201 and HB-202 use the LCMV and PICV arenaviral backbones, respectively, while expressing the same antigen, an E7/E6 fusion protein derived from HPV16. Interim Phase 1 monotherapy data on HB-201 for the treatment of advanced HPV16+ cancers showed promising anti-tumor activity and favorable tolerability. Data demonstrated responses and stable disease in head and neck cancer patients who failed prior standard of care therapy, platinum therapy, PD(L)1 inhibitor, or both. Initial data on HB-201 and HB-202 as a replicating 2-vector therapy are anticipated by mid-2021. HOOKIPA’s HB-300 program for prostate cancer also uses the LCMV and PICV arenaviral backbones directed against three validated antigens for prostate cancer: PAP, PSA, and PSMA.

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