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Targovax receives approval to proceed with the ONCOS-102 phase 2 melanoma study from the US FDA

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed and accepted the protocol for the ONCOS-102 phase 2 combination trial in PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor (CPI) refractory advanced melanoma
  • The study is on track to start in late 2022 or early 2023  

Oslo, Norway, 27 September 2022 – Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing immune activators to target solid tumors, today announces that the FDA has accepted the protocol and given the formal go-ahead to proceed with the planned ONCOS-102 phase 2 trial in melanoma. Study initiation activities are proceeding according to the communicated timeline, with the aim to start enrolling patients in late 2022 or early 2023.  

PD-1 CPI refractory advanced melanoma is a major unmet medical need affecting up to 25,000 patients per year globally in the major markets. The diagnosis has poor prognosis and there are currently no approved treatment options available. In a recently reported phase 1 trial, ONCOS-102 demonstrated a highly competitive response rate (ORR) of 35% in this patient population in combination with a PD-1 CPI. Importantly, the strong ORR outcome was corroborated by biomarker data showing significant increase in T-cell infiltration and broad and persistent activation of immune-related gene signatures in responding patients.

Based on these promising early clinical results, Targovax is planning to conduct a larger, phase 2 multi-cohort study to further explore and validate the benefit of ONCOS-102 in PD-1 CPI refractory melanoma. This phase 2 study will be run in collaboration with Targovax’s partner Agenus, who will provide their Fc-enhanced CTLA-4 (botensilimab) and PD-1 (balstilimab) CPIs for combination with ONCOS-102.

In the first part of the study, two groups will evaluate the safety and efficacy of (1) a higher dose of ONCOS-102 to be tested as a monotherapy and (2) the low and new higher dose of ONCOS-102 in combination with the PD-1 CPI balstilimab. Following confirmation of the safety of the increased ONCOS-102 dose, the study will proceed into its second part adding two more groups. In group (3) ONCOS-102 will for the first time be combined with a CTLA-4 CPI (botensilimab) and, ultimately, in (4) the triple combination of ONCOS-102, balstilimab and botensilimab will be tested.    

Dr. Lone Ottesen, Chief Medical Officer of Targovax ASA, said: “We are very pleased to get the formal go-ahead from the FDA for our phase 2 melanoma study. With the proposed design, we will answer important clinical questions relating to safety, dosing and contribution of components that are critical to enable subsequent registrational trials. I am particularly excited about the combination with the next generation Fc-enhanced CTLA-4 CPI botensilimab, which is expected to enhance systemic activity and deepen tumor responses. We anticipate that the triple combination of ONCOS-102 with PD-1 and CTLA-4 blockade will boost response rates above the already strong 35% ORR, and firmly establish ONCOS-102 as class-leading candidate in PD-1 CPI refractory melanoma”.

For further information, please contact:
Erik Digman Wiklund, CEO
Phone: +47 413 33 536

Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624

Media enquires:
Andreas Tinglum – Corporate Communications (Norway)
Phone: +47 9300 1773

About Targovax

Activating the patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Targovax (OSE:TRVX) is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing immune activators to target hard-to-treat solid tumors. Targovax’s focus is to activate the patient’s immune system to fight cancer, and thereby bring benefit to cancer patients with few available treatment alternatives. Targovax is assessing its product candidates in different cancer indications, including melanoma, mesothelioma and multiple myeloma, and has demonstrated a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

Targovax’s lead clinical candidate, ONCOS-102, is a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus, which has been engineered to selectively infect cancer cells and activate the immune system against the tumor. Following very encouraging clinical data in several indications, both as monotherapy and in combinations, ONCOS-102 is progressing into a randomized phase 2 trial in melanoma patients resistant to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor treatment.

Building on successful studies demonstrating clinical efficacy and providing deep mechanistic insights, the Targovax platform is being expanded into delivery of circular RNA (circRNA). In addition, Targovax has a KRAS immunotherapy program, with lead cancer vaccine candidate, TG01, due to enter the clinic in the second half of 2022. This provides Targovax with a rich pipeline of innovative future immunotherapy product candidates to follow ONCOS-102.

Source: Targovax