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Immunovaccine Inc. (IMMVF)

Immunovaccine Inc. (OTCQX: IMMVF) (TSE: IMV) develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines, utilizing a patented delivery agent platform called DepoVax. DepoVax delivers antigens and adjuvant, over time in a gradual and controlled manner, to enhance the body’s immune system, a novel vaccine adjuvanting platform technology. The company intends to leverage DepoVax as a “potent and flexible product-generating platform”, while internally advancing therapeutic cancer vaccine candidates, and capturing the upside through “collaborative and partnered programs”. Partnerships and collaborations include Incyte, Merck, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, UConn Health, and Leidos.

The DepoVax delivery agent platform is unique in the industry, providing a long-term “depot effect” for a more effective delivery of immune system building substances. The antigen and adjuvant are encapsulated in a liposome and suspended in oil. The oil-based carrier doesn’t mix with water and remains localized at the site of administration for weeks, instead of days common with competitor formulations. This allows prolonged processing of vaccine ingredients by the immune system, attracting immune cells to the site of the injection, and forcing them to actively take up the antigens and adjuvant from the oil. The company says that the result is an improved immune response to poorly immunogenic antigens, also encouraging robust and durable T cell activation.

The company’s focus is on two key markets, Immuno-Oncology and Infectious Diseases, and is building associated partnerships.

The immune oncology market is expected to be $14 billion by 2019, rising to $34 billion by 2024 (GlobalData – April 2016), led by PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors. However, checkpoint inhibitors are highly effective in a limited number of patients. The goal now is to determine the most effective combination therapy. The company believes that its DepoVax platform is positioned to revolutionize immunotherapy in a number of areas. Immunovaccine has already advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase 1 human clinical trials. Their lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, is undergoing Phase 2 study for recurrent lymphoma. Phase 2 clinical studies for DPX-Survivac are also being planned for both brain and ovarian cancer, with an opportunity in ovarian cancer to deliver one of the first triple combinations with checkpoints (IDO1, PD-1 inhibitors) from Incyte and Merck.

The infectious disease market is estimated to be over $57 billion by 2019 (MarketsandMarkets – January 2015), with new formulations and treatment technologies being increasingly required. DepoVax is differentiated from the competition, and the company is aiming at those parts of the market where it can maximize value creation. Immunovaccine is developing an infectious disease pipeline that includes vaccines for anthrax and respiratory syncytial virus. There are also vaccine opportunities for malaria and Zika.

Investment Considerations
  • Potent technology, unique to the industry, with a range of applications in cancer and infectious diseases
  • Well planned strategy, incorporating multiple opportunities and critical partnerships
  • Strong financial position, raising $16 million in 2016, providing 2 years of cash
  • Proprietary commercial-scale vaccine manufacturing capability
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