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MabVax Therapeutics Receives $1.8 Million in a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research Program Award From the National Cancer Institute

SAN DIEGO, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- MabVax Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of vaccine and antibody based therapies to address the unmet medical need of preventing recurrent cancer, announces that it has received the Phase 2 portion of the Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under the agency's Streamlined Non-competing Award Procedures (SNAP). The initial year 1 grant of $150,000 was awarded on August 1, 2010 and supported the manufacture and testing of the company's sarcoma vaccine currently in clinical testing. The follow-on grant is intended to help support the Phase II clinical trial of the company's vaccine to prevent recurrent sarcoma.  The year 2 award is for $974,000 and the year 3 award is for an additional $878,000.  

"We are very gratified that the NCI has made this follow-on award to MabVax.  These grants will significantly help offset the costs of the Phase II trial such as investigational site and certain patient care expenses," said David Hansen, CEO of MabVax.  He added that "the trial now has 10 active sites enrolling patients and we have made good progress toward reaching our enrollment goals."

The Phase II clinical trial will enroll a total of 134 metastatic sarcoma patients in a randomized, multicenter, double-blind study of the trivalent vaccine specifically developed to target and kill residual circulating cancer cells and micrometastases thought to cause recurrent sarcoma.  In the United States (US), there are approximately 13,200 sarcoma cases diagnosed each year, representing less than 1% of all new cancers.  Prognosis remains poor, with more than 5,200 patients in the US dying of the disease each year.  As in other malignancies, disease recurrence and metastasis are common in sarcoma.  Despite undergoing potentially curative surgical resection or combination therapy, the majority of these patients with recurrent sarcoma die as a result of further recurrences.  

The vaccine is designed to instruct the patient's immune system to make antibodies against the three ganglioside antigens present on the surface of sarcoma cells. The antibodies are expected to seek out and eliminate residual circulating cancer cells and micrometastases. The vaccine was developed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) where preclinical and early clinical development work was completed in 2009.  MabVax exclusively licensed the sarcoma vaccine, along with additional vaccines targeting other neuroectodermal and epithelial cancers, from MSKCC in 2008.  

Additional information may be obtained by following the link to the website.

About MabVax Therapeutics, Inc.

MabVax Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of vaccine and antibody based therapies to address the unmet medical need of preventing recurrent cancer. The company was formed to exploit key aspects of the work of Dr. Philip Livingston and colleagues at MSKCC who have developed cancer vaccines against gangliosides and other carbohydrate antigens that are the most extensively expressed antigenic targets on the cell surface of certain cancers. The company believes that passively administered or vaccine induced antibodies against selected tumor cell surface antigens are ideally suited for eradication of free tumor cells and micrometastases that remain after initial treatment and cause cancer recurrence.  The company plans to commercially develop vaccines against several different types of cancer over the coming years.  Concurrently, MabVax is creating a pipeline of monoclonal antibody products based on the protective immune responses generated by patients who have been immunized against targeted cancers. The company is based in San Diego, CA. MabVax has closed two Series A rounds of venture financing in February 2008 and August of 2009.  

SOURCE MabVax Therapeutics, Inc.
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