SAN RAMON, Calif., Oct. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galena Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:GALE), a biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of hematology and oncology therapeutics that address unmet medical needs, presented interim safety data from the Company’s NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S) Phase 2b combination study with trastuzumab at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2016 Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. The clinical trial is a randomized, multicenter, investigator-sponsored, 300 patient Phase 2b study. It is currently enrolling HER2 1+ and 2+ node positive, and high-risk node negative patients to study NeuVax in combination with trastuzumab to prevent breast cancer recurrence.
Poster #1069P, entitled “Interim safety analysis of a phase II trial combining trastuzumab and NeuVax, a HER2-targeted peptide vaccine, to prevent breast cancer recurrence in HER2 low expression,” demonstrated that this novel combination of trastuzumab and NeuVax in HER2 low-expressing (LE) patients is well-tolerated and the cardiac effects of trastuzumab are not impacted by the addition of NeuVax.
In March 2016, the 150th patient was randomized into the trial, triggering this pre-specified safety analysis (Vaccine Group (VG) n=81, Control Group (CG) n=69). There were no significant differences in treatment factors, but a significant difference in node positivity appreciated between the groups. The sponsor expects this randomization imbalance to equalize over the duration of the study. Cardiac ejection fraction (EF) was assessed at baseline and serially throughout treatment. The majority of toxicities were Grade 1 and 2, and there was no difference between treatment arms. There was no difference in EF over time (baseline (T0) to 6mo (T6)) between VG v CG (T0: 61.4+0.6%, T6: 60.5+0.9% v T0: 61.6+0.7%, T6: 60.7+1.0%, p=0.9). There was one CG patient who experienced a grade 3 cardiac adverse event, but their EF returned to baseline after discontinuation of trastuzumab.
“This pre-specified, interim safety analysis is crucial to this trial to ensure that the combination of NeuVax and trastuzumab is well-tolerated in patients, and importantly that it does not increase the cardio-toxicity effects known to be associated with trastuzumab,” said Bijan Nejadnik, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “There is a growing consensus that combination therapies may yield the greatest clinical benefit, and this Phase 2b trial remains ongoing with enrollment expected to complete by the end of this year. As a result, we expect to report our first interim efficacy and immunologic outcomes after 12 months of follow-up, currently expected at the end of 2017. We are grateful to Dr. George Peoples and his team who continue this groundbreaking work.”
Disease-free, HLA-A2+, A3+, A24+, or A26+, HER2 LE breast cancer patients at high risk for recurrence were enrolled after standard of care treatment and randomized to vaccine group (VG) receiving trastuzumab and NeuVax or control group (CG) receiving trastuzumab and GM-CSF only. Trastuzumab dosing was 8mg/kg loading, then 6mg/kg every 3 weeks. Patients received 6 total inoculations of NeuVax or GM-CSF, one every 3 weeks starting with the third trastuzumab infusion, followed by four booster inoculations administered every 6 months. Demographic and safety data were collected and analyzed with appropriate statistical tests.
About NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S)
NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S) is a first-in-class, HER2-directed cancer immunotherapy under evaluation to prevent breast cancer recurrence after standard of care treatment in the adjuvant setting. It is the immunodominant peptide derived from the extracellular domain of the HER2 protein, a well-established target for therapeutic intervention in breast carcinoma. The nelipepimut-S sequence stimulates specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) following binding to specific HLA molecules on antigen presenting cells (APC). These activated specific CTLs recognize, neutralize and destroy, through cell lysis, HER2 expressing cancer cells, including occult cancer cells and micrometastatic foci. The nelipepimut-S immune response can also generate CTLs to other immunogenic peptides through inter- and intra-antigenic epitope spreading. In clinical studies, NeuVax is combined with recombinant granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF).
NeuVax is currently in two breast cancer studies in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin®; Genentech/Roche): a Phase 2b trial in node positive and triple negative HER2 IHC 1+/2+ (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01570036); and, a Phase 2 trial in high risk, node positive or negative HER2 IHC 3+ patients (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT02297698). Phase 2 clinical trials with NeuVax are also planned in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and in patients with gastric cancer.
About HER2 1+/2+ Breast Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, over 230,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Of these women, only about 25% are HER2 positive (IHC 3+). NeuVax targets approximately 50%-60% of these women who are HER2 low to intermediate (IHC 1+/2+ or FISH < 2.0) and achieve remission with current standard of care, but have no available HER2-targeted adjuvant treatment options to maintain their disease-free status.
About Galena Biopharma
Galena Biopharma, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of hematology and oncology therapeutics that address unmet medical needs. Galena’s pipeline consists of multiple mid-to-late-stage clinical assets led by its hematology asset, GALE-401, and novel cancer immunotherapy programs including NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S) and GALE-301/GALE-302. For more information, visit www.galenabiopharma.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the progress of the development of Galena’s product candidates, including NeuVax, patient enrollment in our clinical trials, as well as other statements related to the progress and timing of our development activities, present or future licensing, collaborative or financing arrangements, expected outcomes with regulatory agencies, and projected market opportunities for product candidates or that otherwise relate to future periods. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those identified under “Risk Factors” in Galena’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by these forward-looking statements. Galena does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect a change in its views or events or circumstances that occur after the date of this press release.
NeuVax is a trademark of Galena Biopharma, Inc.
Herceptin is a trademark of Genentech/Roche
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