Moderna went public last year, and it has opened its eyes to some new opportunities. They are working on 21 pipeline programs, four of them entering phase I, and another study is entering phase II.
Moderna’s scientists are hard at work, creating an mRNA personalized cancer vaccine (PCV) mRNA-4157 for patients suffering myocardial ischemia. Scientists are scaling up its VEGF-A drug, hoping to bring it to market.
In phase II, Moderna is going to combine mRNA-4157 and Merck’s PD-1 Keytruda against Keytruda by itself. A way to determine if it will help patients with the high risks of melanoma to handle Keytruda after the tumor was removed. Phase II is set to enroll around 150 patients at this particular time.
Moderna’s data demonstrates that its combo shrank tumors for 6 out of 20 patients. An excellent indicator for scientists and executives hoping to deliver an innovative drug to the market. In the study, two of them treated with a checkpoint inhibitor, 13 patients treated with Moderna’s vaccine. Of those treated, 11 were free of any disease.
In Phase I, they added another study group tot the trail to study why 17 patients wih cancer that was resisting to the PD-1 inhibitors.
Right now, Moderna is hard at work studying the KRAS vaccine, and they are trying to see how it works with Keytruda if it’s compatible or not. The first phase of the study will focus on patients that have metastatic or advanced KRAS-Mutated non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic, or colorectal disease. They are advancing the programs, and they are also pleased that Vertex is extending the research collaboration based on the progress.
Moderna is basing both their personalized vaccines on neoantigens, these neoantigens can be found in patient tumors. The company is creating custom mRNA strands with instructions for the body. Your body makes the neoantigens and jumpstarts the immune system by stimulating so it can attack.
The vaccine that they are testing is base on neoantigens, and it has 20+ different neoantigen codes. They are said to be working on a version with 34 neoantigens at this time too, which is rare to hear.
Moderna is not the only business within the neoantigen space at this time. Other companies like Neon Therapeutics are also working hard to adapt the neoantigens and create some vaccines. Right now, they are working on using the synthetic peptides to mimic the neoantigens. The potential is impressive for sure, and if companies like Moderna continue to push the boundaries, they can have some extraordinary results.