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Geneos Therapeutics Announces Positive Phase 1/2 Data for GT-30 Trial of Personalized Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine

Trial has met primary endpoints of safety and immunogenicity and secondary endpoint for efficacy based on response rate

Trial data published today in Nature Medicine

Selected clinical trial data also presented at the 2024 AACR Annual Meeting

PHILADELPHIA, April 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Geneos Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotherapeutics company focused on the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines (PTCVs), today announced the publication of positive safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy data from the full cohort of patients enrolled in its GT-30 clinical trial in Nature Medicine.

The paper, titled, “Personalized Neoantigen Vaccine and Pembrolizumab in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A phase 1/2 trial,” details the GT-30 clinical trial, a 36-patient, single-arm, open-label, multi-center Phase 1/2 study of GNOS-PV02, a DNA plasmid encoded PTCV in combination with DNA plasmid encoded IL-12 (a cytokine adjuvant), and pembrolizumab (a PD-1 inhibitor) in second-line (2L) patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) previously treated with a multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor. The study met its primary endpoints of safety and immunogenicity and its secondary endpoint of efficacy based on observed response rate (ORR).

PTCV-related adverse events were all limited to Grades 1 and 2 with no dose-limiting toxicities or grade > 3 adverse events observed. The most common adverse events were injection site reactions observed in 41.6% (15/36) of patients. This is in contrast to typical immuno-oncology combination regimens, including those approved for first-line use in advanced HCC, wherein adding a second agent may lead to markedly increased toxicity; here, the addition of a PTCV to a PD-1 inhibitor was not observed to lead to any significant decrease in patient safety and tolerability.

The ORR for GT-30 is currently at 30.6% (11/36), including three complete responses (CR) and eight partial responses. This response is statistically significant based on pre-specified criteria at a one-sided p-value = 0.031 (1-sided 90% CI 20.4%-100%) versus a pre-specified historical control of 16.9% for pembrolizumab monotherapy. This historical comparator response rate was modeled on Phase 3 KN-240 data presented at ASCO 2019 and is also consistent with the prior Phase 2 KN-224 study. As an overall class, anti-PD1 monotherapy for 2L advanced HCC has shown response rates of 11%-18% in seven Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical studies enrolling over 1400 patients. Additionally, the GT-30 CR rate of 8.3% (3/36) compares with a historical anti-PD-1 monotherapy CR rate in 2L of 0% – 3% in the prior studies. As of the data cutoff, the median OS (mOS) in GT-30 was 19.9 months compared to a mOS range of 12.9 – 15.1 months reported for the prior 2L studies of pembrolizumab and other anti-PD-1 monotherapy. 11 of 36 patients remain on treatment and, in total, 17 patients continue to be followed for overall survival (OS).

“Other recent industry trials have tested personalized cancer vaccines in patients with highly immune-sensitive tumor phenotypes and no measurable disease. In marked contrast, the GT-30 trial assesses PTCVs in HCC, a cancer with very low tumor mutational burden and an immune-excluded phenotype, and in patients with significant late-stage unresectable and metastatic disease,” said Niranjan Sardesai, PhD, CEO and president of Geneos. “Despite the small size of this study, our results are important for the advancement of the field. We have not only met endpoints for safety, immunogenicity, and clinical efficacy based on ORR in this difficult to treat setting, but our mechanism of action data trace and confirm every step, from vaccination to tumor reduction, required to explain the immunological basis for the observed clinical responses.”

Immunological analyses confirm the induction of new T cell responses to vaccine-encoded neoantigens in 14 of 14 (100%) evaluated patients and the expansion of this TCR repertoire both in the peripheral blood and tumors of PTCV-treated patients. Single cell sequencing analyses show the vast majority of these T cell clones to be CD8 T effector memory cells, a key requirement to induce anti-tumor cytotoxicity. In contrast, while anti-PD-1 monotherapy has been observed to reverse T cell dysfunction in existing neoantigen-specific T cell clones, it is not known to induce any new neoantigen-specific T cell clones.

Today Geneos also presented selected GT-30 clinical trial data and updated longitudinal circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) biomarker data from the trial at the 2024 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in San Diego. Reductions of at least 50% versus baseline in patient ctDNA, an exploratory endpoint, were seen in 40.7% of patients (11 of 27 patients for whom the full data set are available). All such responses correlate with ongoing survival.

“To our knowledge, the GT-30 clinical study provides the first definitive demonstration of a personalized cancer vaccine enhancing clinical response to anti-PD-1 therapy by inducing new, neoantigen-specific T cells which traffic to the tumor,” said Ildiko Csiki, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Geneos. “The fact that the PTCV regimen has produced this important result in a form of cancer as immunologically ‘cold’ as HCC, leading to multiple complete responses and a doubling of objective response versus PD-1, is incredibly promising and shows the therapeutic potential of personalized cancer vaccines for cancer patients.”

DNA-based PTCVs may include up to 40 neoantigens. The majority of patients in the GT-30 study were administered PTCVs which included all of their targetable neoantigens across a broad range of predicted MHC binding affinity. A correlation was seen in GT-30 between the number of vaccine epitopes and the number of reactive epitopes post-vaccination, suggesting that having more neoantigens in the vaccine increased the effectiveness of tumor control. Other personalized vaccine platforms, especially those not based on DNA, have historically had to target a more limited selection of neoantigens, which may limit their efficacy.

About Geneos Therapeutics
Geneos Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotherapeutics company, is developing personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines (PTCVs) that may serve an important role in new immunotherapeutic paradigms for cancer. The company’s approach, using its proprietary GT-EPIC™ platform, is to target neoantigens (abnormal mutations produced by cancer cells) from individual patient tumors to develop novel and uniquely personalized treatments for cancer. Planning is underway for a potentially registrational clinical trial in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. For more information, please visit www.geneostx.com.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to our business, including our plans regarding the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines and the therapeutic potential and clinical benefits of our product candidates. Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein. There can be no assurance that any product candidate in Geneos’ pipeline will be successfully developed, manufactured or commercialized, that final results of clinical trials will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market licensed products, or that any of the forward-looking information provided herein will be proven accurate. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release, and Geneos undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, except as may be required by law.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

CONTACT: Karen Sharma, MacDougall Advisors, ksharma@macdougall.bio

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