NEW YORK and VIENNA, Austria, Feb. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: HOOK, ‘HOOKIPA’), a company developing a new class of immunotherapies based on its proprietary arenavirus platform, today announced that it has achieved a $10 million non-dilutive milestone payment under its collaboration agreement with Roche to develop HB-700, a novel arenaviral immunotherapy for KRAS-mutated cancers. The success-based milestone payment reflects the start of the HB-700 manufacturing process to support a Phase 1 clinical trial. HOOKIPA plans to submit an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first half of 2024.
“We’re really pleased to start the year strongly by achieving this milestone in our collaboration with Roche to develop HB-700 for KRAS-mutated cancers,” said Joern Aldag, Chief Executive Officer at HOOKIPA. “We’re excited to advance the HB-700 program, our third in oncology, and we’re eager to explore the potential of our technology in addressing another unmet need in cancer.”
In October 2022, HOOKIPA and Roche announced a strategic collaboration agreement to license and develop HB-700 for KRAS-mutated cancers and an option for a second, undisclosed arenaviral immunotherapy. Through the collaboration, HOOKIPA is conducting research and early clinical development through Phase 1b for HB-700. Upon the completion of the Phase 1b trial, Roche has the right to assume development responsibility and to commercialize licensed products across multiple indications upon approval. Under the collaboration, HOOKIPA is eligible for research, development and commercialization milestone-based payments up to approximately $930 million for both programs, plus royalties.
About KRAS-mutated cancers
KRAS is a gene that acts as an on/off switch for cell growth. When there is a mutation, or error, in the gene, cells can grow out of control. KRAS mutations are among the most common mutations that cause cancer. While KRAS-mutated, tumor-specific treatments exist, there remains an opportunity to target a broader range of KRAS-mutations simultaneously and thereby potentially help more people impacted by these cancers.
About HOOKIPA’s arenaviral technology
HOOKIPA’s novel, replicating arenaviral technology has demonstrated the ability to induce potent antigen-specific T cell responses and promising anti-tumor activity in a Phase 1 clinical trial which treated patients with advanced Human Papillomavirus 16-positive head and neck cancers. Preclinical studies have also demonstrated the ability of arenaviral immunotherapies to break self-tolerance and induce potent T cell responses to tumor self-antigens and mutated epitopes, or target parts of a mutated, cancer-causing gene. These findings provide scientific rationale for the HB-700 program.
HB-700 is an investigational arenaviral immunotherapy designed to treat KRAS-mutated lung, colorectal, pancreatic and other cancers. HB-700 is a replicating 2-vector therapy that targets the most common KRAS mutations (G12D, G12V, G12R, G12C and G13D) and thereby may benefit more patients than single mutation inhibitors.
HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: HOOK) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel immunotherapies, based on its proprietary arenavirus platform, which are designed to mobilize and amplify targeted T cells and thereby fight or prevent serious disease. HOOKIPA’s replicating and non-replicating technologies are engineered to induce robust and durable antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses and pathogen-neutralizing antibodies. HOOKIPA’s pipeline includes its wholly owned investigational arenaviral immunotherapies targeting Human Papillomavirus 16-positive cancers, prostate cancers, and other undisclosed programs. HOOKIPA is collaborating with Roche on an arenaviral immunotherapeutic for KRAS-mutated cancers. In addition, HOOKIPA aims to develop functional cures of HBV and HIV in collaboration with Gilead.
Find out more about HOOKIPA online at www.hookipapharma.com.
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Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements set forth in this press release constitute “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements can be identified by terms such as “believes,” “expects,” “plans,” “potential,” “would” or similar expressions and the negative of those terms. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause HOOKIPA’s research and clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the drug development process, including HOOKIPA’s programs’ early stage of development, the process of designing and conducting preclinical and clinical trials, the regulatory approval processes, the timing of regulatory filings, the challenges associated with manufacturing drug products, HOOKIPA’s ability to successfully establish, protect and defend its intellectual property, risks relating to business interruptions resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease outbreak or similar public health crises, the impact of COVID-19 on the enrollment of patients and timing of clinical results, and other matters that could affect the sufficiency of existing cash to fund operations. HOOKIPA undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of the company in general, see HOOKIPA’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2022, which is available on the Security and Exchange Commission’s website at www.sec.gov and HOOKIPA’s website at www.hookipapharma.com.
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