HDT Bio, a developer of immunotherapies for oncology and infectious diseases, announced in August 2022 that it is partnering with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This collaboration is designed to enable the design of cancer vaccines using self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) and HDT Bio’s LION delivery system.  

The principal investigator in the collaboration is HDT Bio’s CEO Dr Steve Reed*. He emphasised his excitement for the partnership, which will target cancers “such as those of the pancreas, colon, breast, and prostate” alongside “viral diseases that lead to cancers”. NCI will carry out preclinical studies with the saRNA vaccines to determine cancer prevention efficacy. With the results there is potential for collaboration on human trials. Dr Reed explained that these antigen-based vaccines “could be used as treatment vaccines” as well as vaccines “to prevent cancer in people diagnosed with specific mutations associated with the different types of the disease”.  

“We are very appreciative of this NCI opportunity.” 

HDT Bio’s saRNA technology was useful in developing a Covid-19 vaccine, the first saRNA vaccine authorised for human use. It has been authorised for use in India and is in clinical trials in the US, South Korea, and Brazil. Commenting on this vaccine, Dr Reed described it as a “game changer”.  

“This technology can stimulate an immune response with a dose of up to 20 times lower than current vaccines, which enhances safety, lowers costs, and increases production speed.” 

Dr Reed attributed HDT Bio’s success with saRNA development to “our proprietary LION system”. He suggested that for other companies, saRNA’s “self-replicating properties can cause excessive stimulation of the innate immune system”.  The LION formulation increases the stability of the RNA and doesn’t require the ultra-cold storage of mRNA vaccines. Vaccines that are developed with this platform can be freeze-dried and refrigerated. This promises to lower costs and overcome distribution barriers across the world.  

NCI investigator, Dr Robert Shoemaker, remarked that this partnership “builds on initial collaboration for development of a prostate cancer preventative vaccine targeting tumour-associated antigen expression”.  

*We look forward to hearing more from HDT Bio’s CEO Dr Reed at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022. To join us, click here for tickets.

For more on cancer vaccine possibilities read our post here.