In January 2023 LinKinVax and Gustave Roussy announced a collaboration towards a first-in-human Phase I/IIa clinical trial on a therapeutic vaccine candidate. This vaccine, CD40HVac, will target head and neck cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV). The study aims to demonstrate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine and determine the recommended Phase II dose.  


LinKinVax is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that specialises in protein-based vaccines. It suggests that it hopes to “disrupt vaccine development using a unique dendritic cell-targeting vaccine platform”.  

The vaccine platform is reportedly constructed around a humanised monoclonal antibody, which is “fused with regions of pathogens of interest” to target the CD40 molecule expressed by dendritic cells (DC). This strategy is useful because a “small quantity of antigens” is required to activate the immune system with the effect of lasting responses.  

Gustave Roussy 

Gustave Roussy was ranked the 3rd best oncology hospital in the world according to Newsweek and treats patients of all ages with all types of cancer.  

“We place innovation at the heart of a human, scientific, and technological revolution in the fight against cancer.”  

Caring for almost 50,000 patients every year, the centre combines research with patient care and teaching. It specialises in the treatment of rare and complex cancers.  

The study 

The study will investigate the safety and immunogenicity of the CD40HVac candidate with the Poly-ICLC adjuvant against “oncogenic HPV in patients with head and neck cancer”. Further exploratory objectives are planned to “estimate progression-free survival and overall survival”.  

CD40HVac is a therapeutic vaccine for “HPV-associated malignancies”. CDC research has indicated that 62% of oropharyngeal cancers are attributable to HPV 16 and 18. Despite the power of “modern multidisciplinary treatment approaches” against HPV-induced tumours, the collaboration is needed to “better address the needs of patients”.  

Professor Yves Levy, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at LinKinVax, described the partnership as a “crucial step”.  

“It represents a bridge between basic research and clinical research designed to accelerate innovation for the benefit of patients.” 

Dr Carline Even from the Department of Head and Neck Oncology at Gustave Roussy commented on the importance of “innovation” in the “fight against cancer”.  

“We hope that this first project will be inaugural of a long-standing and synergistic collaboration between LinKinVax and Gustave Roussy.” 

For more on progress in fighting a range of cancers come to the World Vaccine Congress in April.