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Nykode Therapeutics announces positive interim trial results

Siri Torhaug

Nykode Therapeutics has announced positive interim results from its Phase 2 VB C-02 trial of VB10.16, its wholly-owned therapeutic cancer vaccine, in combination with the PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab in patients with HPV16-positive advanced cervical cancer.

Interim results from 39 patients with a median follow up of 6 months show an ORR of 21% – including two patients who achieved a complete response and six who achieved a partial response – and a very high disease control rate of 64%.

The trial enrolled a heavily pre-treated patient population with more than two thirds of the patients having received at least two previous systemic lines of treatment.

Interestingly, anti-tumor activity was observed in both PD-L1 positive (ORR of 27% and DCR of 77%) and PD-L1 negative patients (ORR of 17% and DCR of 58%) indicating a potential clinical benefit also in the PD-L1 negative population. In addition, a DCR of 71% was observed in patients with noninflamed tumors, including both immune desert and T cell excluded tumors.

Together these findings suggest a differentiated anti-tumor response pattern of the combination treatment compared to checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy.

“We are thrilled to report these positive interim safety and efficacy results from our Phase 2 trial with VB10.16, which showed evidence of durable anti-tumor activity in a heavily pre-treated population of patients with late-stage cervical cancer,” says Michael Engsig, Chief Executive Officer of Nykode Therapeutics. “These interim results support Nykode’s unique approach of targeting Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs), designed to produce a robust and long-lasting CD8 killer T cell response against cancer cells. We look forward to reporting updated efficacy data readouts from the Phase 2 trial during the first half of 2023 as we continue to advance our cervical cancer program.”

High unmet need

VB10.16 is potentially a first-in-class therapeutic vaccine against HPV16-positive cervical cancer.

“The anti-tumor activity seen in both noninflamed and PD-L1 negative populations may potentially open up a new subset of patients for treatment.”

“Treatment advances within the area of advanced cervical cancer have been limited though checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated clinical efficacy in some patients. The unmet need is still high, and we are very pleased to see a high disease control rate and durable responses in these heavily pre-treated HPV16+ cervical cancer patients. The anti-tumor activity seen in both noninflamed and PD-L1 negative populations may potentially open up a new subset of patients for treatment. These findings indicate that VB10.16 may give a meaningful added clinical benefit compared to the existing standard of care treatment in this setting. We would like to thank all the investigators, patients and their relatives for participating in this trial. Without all of you the advances of VB10.16 would not have been possible,” says Siri Torhaug, Chief Medical Officer of Nykode Therapeutics.

VB10.16 was generally safe and well tolerated, with 10% of patients experiencing Grade 3 or more treatment-related adverse events, indicating no increased toxicity compared with atezolizumab monotherapy and a favorable safety profile that is consistent with previously published data for the Nykode DNA vaccine technology platform.

Nykode expects to report updated efficacy data read-outs from VB C-02 during the first half of 2023.

Photo of Siri Torhaug: Nykode Therapeutics