Cambridge, Mass. biopharmaceutical company, Genocea Biosciences, Inc., announced this week positive 12 month efficacy data from its Phase 2 dose optimization trial evaluating GEN-003 for the treatment of genital herpes.
GEN-003 demonstrated sustained and statistically significant reductions compared to baseline in the rate of viral shedding 12 months after dosing across multiple dose groups as well as sustained efficacy at multiple dose levels across secondary endpoints measuring the impact on clinical disease. GEN-003 was safe and well tolerated by patients, with no serious adverse events related to the vaccine in the trial.
“We are very pleased with these data, which show that GEN-003 has strong and durable effects on both HSV-2 viral activity and genital herpes clinical disease, supporting our belief that GEN-003 could become a cornerstone treatment for patients affected by this serious disease. Specifically, a single course of treatment of GEN-003 may offer benefits similar to a full year of daily administration of oral antivirals – but with greatly improved convenience,” said Chip Clark, president and chief executive officer of Genocea. “We anticipate reporting virologic efficacy data for GEN-003 from our recently-initiated Phase 2b study in the third quarter of 2016, clinical efficacy data at 6 months post dosing around the end of 2016 and conducting our end of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA in the first quarter of 2017.”
“These 12 month data highlight the potential of GEN-003 to significantly enhance the genital herpes treatment landscape,” said Lori A. Panther, M.D., MPH, infectious diseases specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Because of the physical and psychological impact of this disease, both patients and treating physicians would be eager to use an effective treatment that more conveniently improves control of outbreaks. The reduction in viral shedding, which is thought to cause the epidemic spread of genital herpes, is also encouraging.”
Genocea has already advanced the two most promising doses, 60 µg per protein combined with either 50 or 75 µg of Matrix-M2TM adjuvant, from this Phase 2 dose optimization study into an ongoing Phase 2b efficacy trial. The efficacy of GEN-003 at these two dose levels over the course of the Phase 2 dose optimization trial is as follows:
Inducing a T cell response against HSV-2 is critical to treating the clinical symptoms of disease and controlling transmission of the infection. GEN-003 is a first-in-class T-cell directed immunotherapy designed to elicit both a T cell and B cell (antibody) immune response. The immunotherapy was designed using Genocea’s ATLAS™ platform, which profiles the comprehensive spectrum of actual T cell responses mounted by humans in response to disease, to identify antigen targets that drive T cell response. GEN-003 includes the antigens ICP4 and gD2 along with Matrix-M2TM adjuvant, which Genocea licenses from Novavax, Inc. For more information about GEN-003, please visit http://www.genocea.com/platform-pipeline/pipeline/gen003-for-genital-herpes/.
Genital Herpes affects more than 400 million people worldwide and causes recurrent, painful genital lesions. It can be transmitted to sexual partners, even when the disease is asymptomatic. Current genital herpes therapies only partially control clinical symptoms and viral shedding, a process which drives disease transmission. Incomplete control of genital lesions and transmission risk, expense and the perceived inconvenience of taking a daily medication are hurdles for long-term disease management. Immunity through T cells is believed to be particularly critical to the control and possible prevention of genital herpes infections.