August 27, 2014 — Telik Inc., a clinical stage oncology drug development company that merged with MabVax Therapeutics Inc. on July 8, announced it has received a $1.5 million contract for the Phase 2 portion of a small business innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The contract is intended to support a major portion of the preclinical work being conducted by MabVax, together with its collaboration partner, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to develop a novel positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agent for the detection and assessment of pancreatic cancer.
In August 2014, MabVax Therapeutics, the wholly owned subsidiary and primary business unit of Telik, and MSKCC completed the Phase 1 of the SBIR contract by successfully demonstrating the feasibility of the project, enabling the follow-on contract award. The research contract accrues to Telik as a result of the July 2014 merger with MabVax.
J. David Hansen, CEO of Telik, commented, "Receiving the $1.5 million grant for the second phase of the NCI's research contract to develop a PET imaging agent for pancreatic cancer solidifies the preeminent position that the antibody discovery and development program developed by MabVax plays in the post-merger company. Given the inadequacy of early diagnostic screening techniques combined with typical late-stage diagnosis, pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States. As such, new diagnostic tools specific to pancreatic cancer have the potential to address the clear need for earlier detection, as well as improving treatment regiments utilizing targeted therapies. Our radiolabeled 5B1 antibody represents the only human-derived agent in development specifically aimed at improving imaging in pancreatic cancer."
The carbohydrate antigen sialyl-Lewisa (sLea) is expressed on pancreatic colon and stomach cancers cells at high levels where it is used as a tumor marker and presents an attractive molecular target. sLea facilitates tumor adhesion and extravasation that are key events for tumor metastasis, and thus presents a marker for the very cells that cause cancer recurrence. Increased sLea expression on tumors is correlated with poor clinical outcome. MabVax Therapeutics has generated fully human monoclonal antibodies against sLea with unusual high affinity for this carbohydrate ligand. MabVax discovered the 5B1 anti-sLea antibody from a patient who was vaccinated with a sLea anti-cancer vaccine that is licensed to MabVax Therapeutics from MSKCC.
For more information: www.telik.com