Vaccitech has announced a new strategic collaboration with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, in order to fund a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for VOLT’s VTP-600 as a first-line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) therapy.

The drug, a cancer immunotherapy comprised of Vaccitech’s proprietary heterologous prime-boost T cell induction platform, is administered intramuscularly and designed to stimulate the immune system to produce sustained cytotoxic CD8+ T cells.

In order to further the development, Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development (CDD) will sponsor and manage a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of the drug in combination with current standard of care and first-line treatment (chemotherapy and anti-PD-1) in approximately 80 patients with the disease.

The trial is set to initiate in Q4 2020 across multiple clinical sites in the UK, and VOLT holds an option to licence the results of the trial in order to undertake further clinical development and commercialisation of VTP-600.

Vaccitech’s chief executive officer, Bill Enright, said that the company is “delighted to enter into a clinical development partnership with two of the world’s most prestigious cancer research institutions,” and that it “believes that this partnership is an important validation of our prime boost platform’s utility in oncology as well as infectious disease.”

Vaccitech is a clinical stage T cell immunotherapy company developing non-replicating viral vectors as vaccines to treat and prevent cancer and infectious diseases.

Every year around 41,700 people are diagnosed with NSCLC in the UK, which accounts for around 88% of all lung cancer cases. New treatments are urgently needed, as only around 5% of people survive lung cancer for 10 years or more in the UK.