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Advanced Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Trial


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Merck KGaA Seeks Second Cancer Vaccine in BB Biotech Vaximm Joint Venture

By Naomi Kresge - Jul 9, 2010

Vaximm Holding AG, a joint venture between Merck KGaA and a Swiss investment fund, will start testing an experimental cancer vaccine in patients next year.

The 40-person study will give Darmstadt, Germany-based Merck a stake in a second anti-tumor vaccine in human trials. The researchers will recruit patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, with results expected in 12 months, said Klaus Breiner, chairman of the board of Vaximm and a partner in Zurich-based BB Biotech Ventures III, Merck’s collaborator in the joint venture.

Like Roche Holding AG’s top-selling cancer therapy Avastin, the experimental therapy VXM01 works by choking off a tumor’s blood supply, Breiner said in an interview. Unlike Avastin, the vaccine harnesses the body’s own T-cells to kill the blood vessels surrounding a tumor. Therapeutic vaccines like VXM01 work differently from traditional vaccines, enlisting the immune system to fight disease instead of to prevent infection



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