Vaccinex Inc. (NASDAQ:VCNX) has announced its second phase double-blind, placebo-controlled SIGNAL study of its experimental clinical treatment for Huntington’s diseases, pepinemab, which did not meet the primary endpoint. The company was evaluating the experimental SEMA4D inhibitor in treating early manifest and prodromal HD patients.
Pepinemab could offer clinical cognitive benefit in HD patients
The company’s CEO Maurice Zauderer stated that the results supported cognitive treatment benefit with pepinemab. Since HD affects different parts of the brain and its progression impacts motor and cognitive active, the pepinemab antibody treatment targets cortical areas. Maurice added that they are upbeat that the data indicate that patients with advanced HD may get significant benefits from this treatment. He also noted that they gained insights from the trail suggesting the pepinemab could be a treatment alternative for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases that affect the frontal cortex and affect cognition.
Vaccinex enters collaboration agreement with Merck for evaluation of pepinemab
Recently the company announced a clinical collaboration deal to evaluate a combination of pepinemab and Merck & Co.’s (NYSE:MRK) anti-PD1 therapy, KEYTRUDA®, in treating patients having recurrent, metastatic, or advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. At the time, Zauderer stated that they were delighted to collaborate with Merck in evaluating the potential of the company’s experimental SEMA4D inhibitor in combination with KEYTRUDA® to enhance the efficiency of cancer therapy.
Past studies indicate that SEMA4D inhibition can increase immune infiltration and also modify immunosuppressive and cytotoxic cell balance in the tumor environment. Normally SEMA4D is expressed highly in HNSCC, and it promotes high myeloid-derived suppressor cell levels. The collaboration offers the company an opportunity to evaluate the combination of the inhibitor and Merck’s anti-PD1 therapy.
Milestone Pharmaceuticals makes board appointments
Milestone Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:MIST) has appointed Robert Wills and Lisa Giles to its Board of Directors. Dr. Wills will take a role in the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee of the Board while Ms. Giles will be a member of the Audit Committee.