January 17, 2019 at 7:05 AM EST
DARTMOUTH, Nova Scotia, Jan. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IMV Inc. (Nasdaq: IMV; TSX: IMV), a clinical stage immuno-oncology corporation, today announced that the first patient has been treated in the Phase 1 trial evaluating neoepitopes formulated in the Company’s proprietary DPX delivery platform in patients with ovarian cancer. The study is part of the Company’s DPX-NEO program, which is an ongoing collaboration between UConn Health and IMV to develop neoepitope-based anti-cancer therapies.
“Expanding our DPX-based clinical immunotherapy program beyond DPX-Survivac is an important milestone for IMV, and we are pleased to be able to do so with this type of cutting-edge program in which the novel mechanism of action underscoring all DPX-based candidates plays a critical role,” said Frederic Ors, Chief Executive Officer at IMV. “We believe that the potential of neoepitope-based therapies could be a significant advance in the way physicians treat patients with ovarian cancer who today face a high unmet medical need. We look forward to working with UConn Healthto advance this program as IMV is committed to developing an immunotherapy option for women affected by this disease.”
Investigators will assess the safety and efficacy of using patient-specific neoepitopes discovered at UConn Health and formulated in IMV’s proprietary DPX-based delivery technology in women with ovarian cancer. Investigators plan to enroll up to 15 patients in the Phase 1 study. UConn Health is funding the trial with IMV providing materials and counsel.
Epitopes are the part of the biological molecule that is the target of an immune response. Neoepitopes are the mutated proteins produced by a patient’s own tumors. Neoepitope immunotherapies target these patient-specific proteins and have been referred to as ‘the next immunotherapy frontier.’ (1)
“The first immunization of the first ovarian cancer patient with our personalized, patient-specific neoepitopes developed at the University of Connecticut using our proprietary technology, formulated in IMV’s excellent immunomodulatory DPX delivery platform, is a major milestone for us,” said Study Investigator Pramod K Srivastava, PhD, MD, Director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
About the DPX-NEO Program
The DPX-NEO program is an ongoing collaboration evaluating the anti-cancer activity of proprietary patient-specific epitopes developed at UConn Health and formulated in IMV’s DPX-based novel immunotherapeutic delivery technology. IMV had previously announced the results from preclinical research in which researchers at UConn found that neoepitopes formulated in DPX-based formulations demonstrated superior immunogenic activity over comparators in mouse tumor models. In addition, IMV also previously announced a breakthrough in formulating multiple peptides in DPX formulations. The Company has patented the technology, which allows for both a larger number and a broader potential range of peptides into a single formulation as compared to standard formulation technologies.
IMV Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to making immunotherapy more effective, more broadly applicable, and more widely available to people facing cancer and other serious diseases. IMV is pioneering a new class of immunotherapies based on the Company’s proprietary drug delivery platform. This patented technology leverages a novel mechanism of action that enables the programming of immune cells in vivo, which are aimed at generating powerful new synthetic therapeutic capabilities. IMV’s lead candidate, DPX-Survivac, is a T cell-activating immunotherapy that combines the utility of the platform with a target: survivin. IMV is currently assessing DPX-Survivac as a monotherapy in advanced ovarian cancer, as well as a combination therapy in multiple clinical studies with Incyte and Merck. Connect at www.imv-inc.com.
IMV Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking information under applicable securities law. All information that addresses activities or developments that we expect to occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made. However, they should not be regarded as a representation that any of the plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to risks affecting the Corporation, including access to capital, the successful completion of clinical trials and receipt of all regulatory approvals. IMV Inc. assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements in this press release except as required by law. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to access capital, the successful and timely completion of clinical trials, the receipt of all regulatory approvals and other risks detailed from time to time in our ongoing quarterly filings and annual information form Investors are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements and are encouraged to read IMV’s continuous disclosure documents, including its current annual information form, as well as its audited annual consolidated financial statements which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov/edgar.
Contacts for IMV:
Andrea Cohen, Sam Brown Inc.
T: (917) 209-7163 E: AndreaCohen@sambrown.com
Marc Jasmin, IMV Senior Director, Investor Relations
T: (902) 492-1819 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patti Bank, Managing Director, Westwicke Partners
O: (415) 513-1284
T: (415) 515-4572 E: email@example.com
1 Neoepitope Vaccines, Next Immunotherapy Frontier Cancer Discovery Published Online First December 28, 2015; doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-NB2015-179
Source: IMV Inc.
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Breast imaging analytics innovator Densitas Inc. announced today that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its machine learning breast density assessment software. The software empowers radiologists with standardized, personalized and automated density reports to optimize women’s breast health and follow-up care decisions.“Receiving 510(k) clearance marks a significant milestone in our company’s growth as we expand our global reach into the U.S. market with our flagship product,” said Mohamed Abdolell, CEO of Densitas. We are delighted to be entering the largest medical device market in the world, especially as 31 states have passed mandatory breast density notification laws.”
Breast density has been shown to be strongly associated with cancer risk. Densitas has the distinct advantage of facilitating breast density assessments of routinely stored standard processed images and their priors because the technology processes the same standard digital mammograms that radiologists view. This provides a practical solution for integrating breast density into risk-based models in population-based screening.The software is cleared for clinical use in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia, and is the first of several follow-on products. The software is being showcased at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR 2018), booth 114 at the Austria Center Vienna.About Densitas
Densitas develops advanced imaging analytics technologies powered by machine learning that deliver actionable insights at point-of-care for personalized breast health. Our products address the key challenges facing breast imaging today, including mammography quality, workflow efficiencies, compliance with national guidelines and standards, and delivery of appropriate care at sustainable costs. For more information, visit www.densitas.health]]>
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When Jean-Paul Deveau returned home to Nova Scotia in 1981 on summer break from McGill University, he discovered he had no bedroom.
“I’m about to go put my stuff in my room and my mother stops me and says, ‘So, before you go upstairs . . . your father started a business and he’s running it out of your bedroom,’ ” the president and CEO of Acadian Seaplants Limited remembers. “ ‘So you’re welcome to stay here but you have to find some other place to sleep.’ ”
His bedroom was the incubation laboratory for Acadian Seaplants, which today is the largest independent marine plant processing company in North America, with six processing plants spread across Atlantic Canada, Ireland and Scotland. It makes seaweed-based food, agricultural and chemical products, ranging from dehydrated “sea vegetables” for salad and pasta dishes to pet food to crop fertilizer to additives for brewing. Seaweed is plentiful around the Nova Scotia coastline, where the company is still headquartered. Deveau’s father, the 86-year-old Louis E. Deveau, was perhaps destined for a career in seaweed. As a kid growing up on the shores of Baie Sainte-Marie, Louis noticed his own father put goémon de roche (the Acadian term for the seaweed harvested from the rocky shoreline) on the family’s vegetable garden. The practice yielded excellent results and spurred his realization that the plentiful plants were rich in nutrients.
His fascination with the sea plant’s potential resulted in Louis joining Marine Colloids, a subsidiary of the world’s largest carrageenan gum manufacturer, in 1967. He later led seaweed-connected businesses in the Philippines and Mexico before moving to New Jersey as a vice-president of Marine Colloids’ U.S. operations. He was soon appointed president of the company’s Canadian wing, where he was also responsible for sourcing seaweed around the globe. “He also spearheaded the development of an entirely new industry—seaweed farming in the Philippines and Indonesia, which today is a major industry in those countries,” notes the Acadian Seaplants website with pride.
In 1981, already a seaweed expert, he decided to become a seaweed entrepreneur. It was a risky—and prescient—move.
“There was no market for most of the products we make now,” Deveau says. “The market emerged afterwards.” And, in many instances, it was created by Louis.
The company that would become Acadian Seaplants was originally a small, seasonal seaweed harvesting operation, based in Nova Scotia and owned by the parent company of Louis’s long-time employer. After Louis bought its Nova Scotian assets in 1981, the firm’s former owners became its first—and for several years only—customer. It wasn’t a bad way to start a business, but Louis quickly recognized the vulnerability and unsustainability of such a business plan.
Meanwhile, Deveau was ﬁnishing his M.B.A. at McGill. When he came home in 1985, he still had no bedroom. Instead, his father presented him with the kind of job every freshly minted M.B.A. dreams of: there was no pay and high risk. But it had big potential, for either success or failure.
“He said, ‘Do you want to see what we can build with this thing I’m running out of your bedroom?’ ” Deveau laughs. “ ‘We don’t have enough money to pay you, but let’s see what we can build.’ And off we went, and we never looked back.”
The ability of both Deveaus to take calculated risks continues to define the multinational company’s culture in its fourth decade of operations.
“What I really like about Acadian is they are not afraid,” says Derrick Dempster, a partner at Deloitte who works with Acadian in the Best Managed Companies program. “They operate in a number of countries, they continue to expand strategically and they’re open to taking risks in new environments. They take on those challenges and they create new markets for themselves as a consequence.”
The Deveaus agree. Louis, from Acadian’s inception, applied a “long-play” business strategy, grounded in heavy investment in scientific research and developing new markets. Deveau believes the company’s current success is driven by four deceptively simple factors. They are all about investment: in research and development, in international market development, in sustainability and in people. These commitments were seeded by Louis on day one, and have been consistently nurtured ever since by father, son and an ever-expanding pool of talent.
“We find the best people in the world and either bring them to Canada to have them work for us in Nova Scotia—we speak more than 10 languages in our facility here—or we base them throughout the world to represent our company in all the countries in which we operate,” says Deveau. The company now exports to more than 80 countries and has staff in 12 locations around the globe.
Acadian’s talent strategy is guided by the same kind of long-term focus Louis brought to the seaweed business: nothing is about today. It’s not even about tomorrow—it’s about the next three, five or 10 years. Acadian tries to envision the future, and then it actively creates it.
“I go to a lot of conferences and we are, of course, comparing ourselves to our competitors. And when we see that what we presented three years ago, other companies are doing now, we have to ask ourselves, immediately, what do we do next? What’s the potential, the next opportunity, the new market no one else is thinking about?” says Deveau.
Indeed, how the company harvests its products is under constant evaluation and improvement. Hyper-competitive long-term thinking like that will continue to contribute to Acadian’s success.
“They will continue to change and create new products,” says Dempster. “They really think of themselves as a learning organization, and they’ve created infrastructure to support that. They’re a Canadian business based in Nova Scotia, but they understand that their market is global.”]]>
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As it continues to fund young companies, the First Angel Network has developed an investment niche for the biomedical space and is showing an eagerness for repeat investments.
FAN, as it is known, has been investing in Atlantic Canadian startups for 12 years, making it the dean of active investment groups. Its portfolio has included a couple of exits and a few failures. The group has sometimes been controversial, and a group of FAN investors is now suing the developer of King’s Wharf in Dartmouth.
Through it all, the co-founding team of Ross Finlay and Brian Lowe has been arranging quarterly investments for their network of angels, as they have been for the past 48 quarters. The landscape has changed since FAN started, and the group concentrates more these days on life sciences companies or IT companies that have medical applications. Recent investments like Chinova Bioworks, Covina Biomedical and Spring Loaded bear this out.
“It seems like our members gravitate toward those types of deals,” said Lowe in an interview last week.
“Our members like to invest in biotechnology and medical devices. They seem to understand the sector well.”
A look at the companies FAN has invested in shows the concentration in life sciences:
Spring Loaded Technology, Dartmouth
— Spring Loaded has recently launched the Levitation knee brace, which not only stabilizes the joint but also adds power to it.
Chinova Bioworks, Fredericton
— Chinova is using the multi-purpose compound chitosan in an anti-microbial agent, which it uses in a natural preservative in such foods as juices.
Iron Apple International, Halifax
— Iron Apple International provides food safety solutions to transportation companies throughout North America.
Covina Biomedical, Halifax
— Covina is commercializing a non-toxic bone cement that can be injected into the vertebrae of osteoporosis patients who have suffered a fracture. The company has said it raised $350,000 from FAN as part of a round with a target of $1 million.
— WellTrack is a product that helps organizations — especially universities — improve the mental health of their members, especially those suffering from stress, anxiety and depression.
NB Biomatrix, Saint John
— NB Biomatrix has developed Naqua-Pure, a liquid that uses nanotechnology to remove heavy metals and other pollutants from waste water.
What’s interesting about the Spring Loaded funding is that it is the second time the knee-brace-maker has tapped FAN for funding. The company received funding from FAN and Innovacorp two years ago, then from Build Ventures last year and returned to FAN earlier this year.
“FAN has been a long-term supporter of Spring Loaded,” said CEO Chris Cowper Smith in an email. “They are well organized and offer an efficient process for raising capital through their network. We had excellent uptake from FAN on our current offering and we look forward to working with them going forward.”
Lowe and Finlay said the organization is interested in providing follow-on funding from its more successful portfolio companies. It has done return investment for Spring Loaded and Halifax-based Metamaterial Technologies Inc., which recently announced an $8.3-million funding round that included contributions from FAN. Some of these companies are also raising money through the Wilmington Investor Network, a North Carolina group with whom FAN sometimes co-invests.
Finlay noted that research by the Angel Research Institute of the United States shows that follow-on funding accounts for more than half the angel investment in the U.S.
“We’ve been wondering if we should try to focus more on not chasing the shiny new object but on supporting the companies that are already in our portfolio,” he said. “We think that’s a good use of our capital.”