All posts by Daniel Barton

Biosceptre wins Gold Medal at China’s largest event for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship

Upon invitation from our lead investor Tuspark S&T, Biosceptre recently participated in the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China’s, 4th Annual Internet Plus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. The competition was held by an affiliated institute; the Xiamen University in Fujian, China, in the third week of October 2018.

It has become the country’s largest and most influential platform for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and a landmark event in higher education. It fielded 200 local and 60 international entrants, chosen from over 630,000 applicants.

Shaun McNulty, Elle Freeman and Edwin Huang representing Biosceptre at the Xiamen University Competition in October.

A three-person team represented Biosceptre; Edwin Huang and Shaun McNulty attended,   supporting and advising Sydney’s youngest scientist, Elle Freeman.

Elle did a great job  delivering both the initial presentation detailing Biosceptre’s science program, and the follow on defending session. Biosceptre’s efforts were recognised, with an additional opportunity  to present in  a “roadshow” style pitching session to investors.

Elle answers science and business questions from the Competition Panel

Elle’s effort and superb performance was well recognised by the judges, who awarded a gold medal to the Biosceptre team.

The competition award event was hosted at a spectacular location

As well as the great work from Elle, the result was achieved with significant contributions from many of the Biosceptre Team. Julian, Simon, Romain, Daniel, Susan, Brad, and Braden all contributed to the application writing, presentation and review.

Following on from the event Shaun was invited to give an extended lecture of Biosceptres’ science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, which was also well received.

We extend our thanks to Kevin Lin from Tuspark for making these opportunities for Biosceptre possible.

Kevin Lin and Shaun McNulty accept the awards won by Biosceptre

 

 

Update on Phase I trial of Vaccine BIL06v

Biosceptres’ Phase I clinical trial for peptide vaccine BIL06v has now completed enrolment of the first cohort of ten patients at the first dose, and all enrolled patients have received treatment. The trial was initiated in August and, subject to a scheduled safety review this week, it is expected that recruitment of the second cohort will begin before end of November.

Gavin Currie CEO said “It is pleasing that we have been able to exceed forecast recruitment rates through the two sites we have initiated, the Sydney Adventist Hospital Wahroonga, and Sydney Southwest Private Hospital. With a third site ready to initiate if recruitment is an issue going forward, we are confident the trial will continue to progress smoothly. Assuming a similar rate of recruitment for the second cohort the Phase I trial remains on track to be completed around Q3 2019.”

Initiation of Biosceptre’s Phase 1 Clinical Trial for First-in-Class Oncology Vaccine BIL06v

Biosceptre has initiated its Phase I clinical trial of the peptide vaccine BIL06v, with the first patient treated at the initial trial site on 16th of August 2018. The first patient was recruited at the Sydney Adventist Hospital in Sydney, Australia, under treating physician and Principal Investigator Associate Professor Gavin Marx. Other clinical sites will be added to the trial in the coming months, and competitive recruitment for the minimum 6 month treatment is anticipated to proceed to the full cohort (20-30) within 12 months.

The trial will accept broad cancer indications with primary focus on prostate and lung cancer patients who are refractory to, or have refused, standard of care treatment. Breast, colorectal and other cancer patients will also be accepted.

The trial has been designed by Dr Bob Li, attending oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Li is a recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Award, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Young Investigator Translational Cancer Research Award.

The trial will be overseen by Biosceptre’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul De Souza, who is Foundation Chair of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine, at Western Sydney University, and Honorary Professor of the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney.

Biosceptre’s BIL06v therapy is a peptide protein conjugate vaccine, administered in the presence of an adjuvant. Primary endpoints include evaluation of safety and immunogenicity, with secondary endpoints including dose limiting toxicity and/or maximum tolerated dose as well as recommended Phase II dose. Disease control rate at 12 weeks as well as progression free survival will also be examined.

Exploratory endpoints will include quality of life and overall survival, as well as serum tumour biomarkers and cellular immunogenicity. Archived tissue will be screened for expression of the nfP2X7 target.

Biosceptre Acting Chairman Sir Gregory Winter said “The relationship between P2X7 and cancer is a field of increasing research interest, and supports the potential of targeting nfP2X7 in human cancer in the clinic.”

Chief Executive Officer Gavin Currie said “It is a long journey from discovery of a novel target like nfP2X7 in oncology to eventually putting a first-in-class drug into the clinical setting, and I am delighted that all the hard work has come to fruition. We are very optimistic that this trial will meet its primary endpoints, a critical inflection point for value for our shareholders.”

Chief Medical Officer Paul de Souza said “I am delighted that the first patient has been treated on our Phase I trial. I look forward to reviewing the data and to taking BIL06v into further clinical studies”.

About Biosceptre

Biosceptre is a Cambridge UK headquartered biotechnology company focused on developing next generation cancer treatments targeting nfP2X7. Biosceptre’s product pipeline includes a range of biologic therapeutics to treat a range of cancer types. For more information visit www.biosceptre.com.

About nP2X7

Biosceptres’ pipeline, including clinical stage peptide vaccine BIL06v, all target nfP2X7, a “non-functional” form of the P2X7 receptor in which cell death signalling (pore functionality) is absent, but ability to sustain ion channel driven proliferation signalling remains.

Expression of nfP2X7 is important in the avoidance of cell death by cancer cells. The target allows cells to avoid programmed cell death signals in the tumour micro-environment, and provides growth and metastatic advantages to cancer cells.

Biosceptre’s focus is on validation and exploitation of this novel immuno-oncology target by multiple therapeutic modalities including vaccine, antibody, and cell therapy (Car-T).

A paper describing Biosceptres’ recent discoveries of the relationship between nfP2X7 and the tumour microenvironment, and confirming the role of nfP2X7 in cancer cell biology has been published by the journal Oncogene.

Biosceptre Paper published by Oncogene

A paper describing Biosceptres’ recent discoveries of the relationship between nfP2X7 and the tumour microenvironment, and confirming the role of nfP2X7 in cancer cell biology has been accepted for publication by the journal Oncogene. This study demonstrates that

  1. nfP2X7 is essential for tumour cell survival
  2. exposure to a high ATP concentration, similar to those found in the tumour microenvironment, increases nfP2X7 levels on cells, and
  3. nfP2X7 is broadly expressed in patient-derived tumour sections from a wide range of cancers, confirming earlier studies

The published findings confirm that nfP2X7 provides a novel therapeutic cancer target against multiple malignancies.

CSO Shaun McNulty said “This publication highlights the significant work that Biosceptres’ Research and Development team has undertaken to characterise nfP2X7, an important new cancer target.  It also provides further confidence in our decision to progress BIL06v, our therapeutic vaccine candidate, into the clinic and justifies the development of additional therapeutics against nfP2X7.”

This paper can be viewed online here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41388-018-0426-6

 

Biosceptre’s Phase 1 Clinical Trial for anti-cancer vaccine BIL06v approved by Ethics Committee

On the 21st of February Biosceptre’s proposed Phase I clinical trial for BIL06v (anti-cancer vaccine) was granted conditional approval by the Bellberry Ethics committee. Biosceptre is now proceeding to take BIL06v into a Phase I trial in late Q2 or early Q3 2018.

Biosceptre has high confidence in the safety of BIL06v, in part as a result of pre-clinical studies and compassionate access patients treated in Australia under the TGA’s Special Access Scheme.

The planned clinical trial will recruit between 20 and 30 patients from a basket of late stage cancers and seeks to confirm safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of BIL06v.  The planned clinical trial will also seek to identify early indications of efficacy in humans.

CEO Gavin Currie said “Having recently closed entry to our Series A fund raising round, we are pleased that this fully funded clinical trial, building on significant preclinical data, has been conditionally approved.  We consider that a successful clinical trial, our first for a systemic therapeutic product targeting nfP2X7, will provide further validation of nfP2X7. We are hopeful for first patient recruitment in Q2 2018.”

Biosceptre welcomes Tuspark S & T into its Series A fund raising round

Biosceptre has received over £8M into its’ series A raise which will be used to resource the next stage of the companies’ development; progression into the clinic of Biosceptre’s first systemic products against novel oncology target nfP2X7.  Biosceptre will close the series A on the 21st December, 2017.

The major portion of the raise received to date was led by Tuspark Science and Technology Service Group, the venture arm of Tsinghua University, Beijing, and was made through through its investment vehicle, Bluesky Partnership II L.P.

Biosceptre CEO Gavin Currie said “After a period of extensive preclinical work to establish the validity of the novel oncology target nfP2X7 for systemic therapies, the Biosceptre board is very pleased to see the company achieve this significant milestone. The work we have done to date on exploitation of nfP2X7 as a therapeutic target has shown incredible promise, and we are now very eager to generate in-human formal clinical trial results that bear out that promise.”

“We welcome Tuspark as they become a strategic shareholder, and look forward to working closely with them. We also thank other participants in this round for their support.”

At the boards’ direction, Biosceptre will apply the funding to progression of the companies’ highest priority clinical assets into Phase I and II trials in Australia. A Phase I trial of the peptide vaccine BIL06v is scheduled to start at three sites in Sydney Australia in 2018. Ethics approval has also been granted for a Phase I clinical trial for Biosceptre’s lead antibody BIL03s, however the company is currently reviewing improvements to this lead.  In addition to these plans, a number of Investigator Initiated Trials at research centres are also in planning.  Biosceptre anticipates announcing clinical milestones and results over the next 18 months, which would, if favourable, facilitate an IPO or trade sale as early as 2019.

About Tuspark S & T:

Tus Science & Technology Service Group is the leading S&T Service Platform by Tus-Holdings. It was jointly founded by Tus-Holdings and Tsinghua Holdings in 2014, with strategic investment from CCB and ICBC. It is a platform committed to helping customers with complex challenges and improving quality of life through S&T innovations. It is the first S&T service provider in China devoted to building an integrated platform for innovation and entrepreneurship and has total assets of RMB 50B+.

About Biosceptre:

Biosceptre is a Cambridge, UK headquartered biotechnology company focused on developing next generation cancer treatments targeting nfP2X7. Sir Greg Winter, founder of Cambridge Antibody Technology and Domantis is acting chairman of the Biosceptre Board of Directors and also chairs the Science Advisory Board.

Biosceptre’s clinical programs include systemic antibody-based therapeutics and vaccines, intended to treat a range of cancer types. With one successful phase I trial completed, Biosceptre will be progressing a number of clinical trials across a range of cancer indications. These trials will further advance the establishing of nfP2X7 as a new and important target for the successful treatment of a range of human cancers.

Biosceptre and Tuspark S & T team celebrating Tuspark’s decision to invest in Biosceptre

 

 

 

 

Biosceptre Joins European Cooperation in Science & Technology COST Group BMBS 1406 – with focus on Ion Channels and Immune Response

Biosceptre announces today its membership of the COST Group (European Cooperation in Science & Technology) project COST BMBS 1406. This project, established in 2014, created the Ion chan-Immune response network that brings together internationally recognised scientists and companies across 15 European countries with the common goal of understanding the function of ion channels in immune cells.

Biosceptre joins BMBS1406 as a private research industry representative, with the goal of strengthening its collaborations and developing synergies with the scientific community. As an ion channel involved in immune response, P2X7 is the centre of significant interest for the COST Group BMBS 1406. By joining BMBS1406, Biosceptre is seeking to expand its understanding of its novel oncology target non-functional P2X7 (nfP2X7), a variant of the P2X7 ion channel which Biosceptre has shown to play a critical role in cancer cell survival.

The specific aims of the BMBS1406 Ion channel-Immune response network are

  1. to develop a strong European workforce to understand the role of ion channels in immune cells, and how deregulation of their function can cause disease, and
  2. to identify new targets for therapeutic immuno-interventions through modulation of ion channels.

The European project COST BMBS 1406 Ion channel – Immune response aims to connect specific ion channels with specific functions and diseases of our immune system.

Biosceptres’ clinical candidates specifically target a non-functional form of the P2X7 ion channel that is present only on the surface of cancer cells. Each of these clinical candidates has shown promising signs of efficacy in pre-clinical development as well as indicative efficacy and safety in compassionate access patients.

Biosceptre looks forward to contributing to COST 1406 as it seeks to achieve its goal of identifying new targets for therapeutic immuno-interventions through modulation of ion channels, and looks forward to participation within the group helping to increase understanding of the potential value of therapies targeting nfP2X7.

About Biosceptre:

Biosceptre is a Cambridge, UK headquartered biotechnology company focused on developing next generation cancer treatments targeting nfP2X7. Biosceptre’s programs include topical products, as well as systemic antibody-based therapeutics and vaccines, intended to treat a range of cancer types. With one successful phase I trial completed, Biosceptre will be progressing a range of candidates through the clinic, including:

  • BIL06v, a therapeutic vaccine for treatment of solid tumours (Phase 1)
  • BIL010t, a topical antibody treatment for Basal Cell Carcinoma (Phase 2)
  • BIL03s, a systemic human domain antibody for treatment of solid tumours (Phase 1)These trials will further advance the establishing of nfP2X7 as a new and important target for the successful treatment of a range of human cancers.