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MabVax Therapeutics Receives Small Business Innovation Research Program Award from the National Cancer Institute

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17 /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 a Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under the agency's Streamlined Non-competing Award Procedures (SNAP). Under the SNAP procedures, both initial and follow-on grant requests are submitted and evaluated as one request.  The initial grant award of $150,000 goes to support the manufacture and testing of the company's sarcoma vaccine currently in clinical testing. The follow-on grant application, for more than $1.5 million, can be funded under fast-track procedures following normal NCI reporting and review procedures.

"While the initial grant is modest, it is the critical gateway to substantially more funding that will offset patient and investigator expenses at the 12 investigative sites we have recruited for the Phase 2 clinical trial that is just getting underway," said David Hansen, CEO of MabVax.  He added that "the SNAP program allows the company to submit a grant request that encompasses substantially more of the research project and potentially allows for more rapid funding of the entire grant request."

The sarcoma vaccine grant is intended to support the Phase II clinical trial that will enroll 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 cancer.  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 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 will then 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.  

Patients who would like additional information are directed to the website where more details can be found.

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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