eTheRNA Immunotherapies, a clinical-stage company developing mRNA-based cancer immunotherapies from its unique TriMix platform, announces it has been awarded a €1 million industrial R&D Projects Grant by Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). The grant will be used by eTheRNA to further develop and optimize its state-of-the-art production process for generating the mRNA components of its TriMix platform, and for clinical trials of innovative and rationally designed mRNA cancer immunotherapies derived from this platform. The improved production process will enable the Company to further reduce its production time and cost of goods and generate more revenues from the production of GMP-grade mRNA for third parties.
The Company’s unique TriMix platform combines three mRNAs encoding proteins that act highly synergistically to activate dendritic cells (DCs), a type of dedicated immune cells also known as antigen presenting cells (APC), to promote enhanced T-cell immunity. In combination with mRNA coding for tumor-specific antigens, TriMix products can also promote an antigen-directed cytotoxic T-cell response.
In June 2017, eTheRNA initiated the first Phase Ib clinical study of its novel candidate TriMix-MEL (ECI-006) in adjuvant melanoma patients and is planning further clinical studies with other TriMix-based candidates in breast cancer to start in the next 12 months.
Dirk Reyn, CEO of eTheRNA, said:
“A key element of our strategy is to be in full control of the proprietary production process of mRNAs that constitute our TriMix platform and our newest immunotherapy candidates. This is important to enable us to advance the clinical trials needed to establish TriMix as a cornerstone of cancer immunotherapy. We are very pleased, therefore, to receive this grant from VLAIO to fund the further optimization of our GMP-certified mRNA production process within our facility in Niel. In doing so, we will strengthen our position as one of the few worldwide companies that can produce mRNA material of the quality needed for clinical trials.”
Grant writing was supported by CMAST, a life sciences Project Management and Consulting company.
VLAIO is a government agency charged with implementing the economic, innovation and enterprise policy in Flanders, Belgium. The agency seeks to finance innovative projects of companies, research centres, organizations and individuals through assignments set by the Flemish Government.
eTheRNA intends to become a leading cancer-focused mRNA immunotherapy company by developing and commercializing rationally designed mRNA immunotherapies that deliver long-lasting clinical remission to a broad range of cancer patients.
eTheRNA’s products are based on its unique TriMix platform, a combination of three mRNAs encoding proteins that act highly synergistically to activate dendritic cells (DCs), a type of dedicated immune cells also known as antigen presenting cells (APC), to promote enhanced T-cell immunity. In combination with mRNA coding for tumor-specific antigens, TriMix products can also promote an antigen-directed cytotoxic T-cell response.
The Company has already generated compelling clinical data from initial TriMix ex-vivo candidates, paving the way for the clinical development of TriMix in-vivo mRNA immunotherapies, which are administered intranodally or intratumorally. The Company has also generated strong pre-clinical data showing the effectiveness of TriMix in-vivo immunotherapies in multiple cancer models.
eTheRNA believes its TriMix platform has the potential to provide cancer patients with better clinical outcomes and is committed to establish its unique technology as the gold standard in the wider area of immune-oncology – both as a monotherapy and in combination with other cancer therapies.
eTheRNA was established in January 2013 as a spin-off from the VUB university in Belgium and is backed by leading international life sciences investors since March 2016.