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Xenova Group PLC (XEN)

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Monday 14 April, 2003

Xenova Group PLC

Research Update

Xenova Group PLC
14 April 2003

                                Xenova Group plc

   Xenova demonstrates clear clinical responses in a 'prime-boost' Phase IIa
                  clinical trial targeting HPV-associated AGIN


Slough, UK, 14th April 2003 - Xenova Group plc (NASDAQ NM: XNVA; London Stock
Exchange: XEN) today announced the results of an open label, physician-sponsored
Phase II 'prime-boost' study, targeting the treatment of human papillomavirus
(HPV)-associated ano-genital intraepithelial neoplasia (AGIN).  The
announcement, made at the British Society for Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology
(BSCCP) meeting in Manchester on Saturday 12th April, relates to a study carried
out on 29 patients at three centres in the UK.  Early results indicate that a
prime-boost strategy, using a combination of Xenova's TA-CIN and TA-HPV
candidate therapeutic vaccines, is both safe and well tolerated and has
demonstrated clear clinical responses, even in women with long-standing disease.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a large family of small DNA viruses associated
with a number of conditions ranging from skin warts and genital warts to
cervical cancer.   Infection with high risk types of HPV (such as HPV16 and
HPV18) is strongly associated with ano-genital cancer and its precursor AGIN.
These diseases are difficult to treat and have a high recurrence rate.

TA-HPV is an immunotherapeutic vaccine which is being developed for use
alongside surgery in the treatment of cervical cancer and for the treatment of
high-grade AGIN. TA-CIN is a recombinant fusion protein, designed as a treatment
for women with cervical dysplasia.  Preclinical studies, conducted by Xenova in
conjunction with scientists at Leiden University Medical Centre, The
Netherlands, demonstrated that use of TA-CIN together with TA-HPV, resulted in
an immune response that was significantly greater than that observed with either
product alone.  The present trials were designed to evaluate results in women
using TA-CIN and TA-HPV in a 'prime-boost ' combination.

In the reported study, 29 women with stable, non-cervical disease were recruited
in three centres: St Mary's Hospital, Manchester; Llandough Hospital, Cardiff;
and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.  Three doses of TA-CIN were given
intramuscularly, at four-weekly intervals, followed four weeks later by a single
dose of TA-HPV by dermal scarification.  Women have been followed up for 12
weeks following completion of the vaccination schedule.  Safety, clinical and
immunological responses, and viral status were assessed.

Both the individual vaccines (TA-CIN and TA-HPV) and the combination regime,
were shown to be safe and well tolerated.  Of the 26 patients meeting the entry
requirements of the study, 15 (60%) showed evidence of symptomatic improvement.
Five (19%) showed a partial response (defined as a lesion area reduction of 50%
or greater).  One patient had a complete response, confirmed by histological
examination and viral clearance, and five (20%) were HPV16 negative at the end
of the study. Two women in the study with vaginal intra-epithelial neoplasia
both showed a partial response.

Assessment of clinical and immunological response is on-going and additional
follow up visits are planned to see whether patients with a partial response go
on to a complete response. The responses seen during the initial stages of the
immunisation regimen were particularly encouraging, and indicated that further
development is warranted.

                                    - ends -


Contacts:
UK:                                               US:
Xenova Group plc                                  Trout Group/BMC Communications
Tel: +44 (0)1753 706600                           Tel: 001 212 477 9007
David A Oxlade, Chief Executive Officer           Press: Brad Miles (Ext 17) Lauren Tortorete (Ext 20)
Daniel Abrams, Group Finance Director             Investors: Jonathan Fassberg (Ext 16) Lee Stern (Ext 22)
Jon Davies, Corporate Communications

Financial Dynamics
Tel: +44 (0)207 831 3113
David Yates/Ben Atwell



                              Notes to Editors

Xenova Group plc's product pipeline focuses principally on the therapeutic areas
of cancer and immune system disorders.  Xenova has a broad pipeline of
programmes in clinical development.  The Group has a well-established track
record in the identification, development and partnering of innovative products
and technologies and has partnerships with significant pharmaceutical and
biopharmaceutical companies including Lilly, Pfizer, Celltech, Genentech, QLT
and Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

TA-HPV is a therapeutic vaccine aimed at inducing a specific immune response to
the disease-causing virus, Human papillomavirus, ('HPV'), in patients with
cervical cancer.  Published data have reported that tumour cells in more than 90
percent of patients with cervical cancer contain DNA from the HPV virus,
specifically types 16 and 18.  TA-HPV is designed for use in association with
the current methods of primary therapy, surgery or radiotherapy, in patients
diagnosed at an early stage in the disease progression.  While surgery or
radiotherapy will remove the tumour mass itself, TA-HPV is intended to stimulate
a cytotoxic T cell response to destroy any residual tumour cells containing HPV
proteins, thereby preventing or delaying the recurrence of disease and the
requirement for further therapy.

TA-CIN is a subunit vaccine based on immunization with specific HPV proteins,
designed to generate a strong cellular immune response against HPV-infected
cells.  The vaccine is being targeted at patients with cervical dysplasia
(pre-invasive cervical disease), thus potentially preventing the onset of
invasive cervical cancer.  The initial product candidate for clinical trials is
a genetically engineered fusion of three proteins from HPV 16 known to play a
role in the progression of cervical disease.

Preclinical studies, carried out by Xenova in conjunction with scientists at the
Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands, have demonstrated that a
combination of TA-HPV and TA-CIN results in an immune response that is
significantly stronger than that observed with either product alone.  Using a '
prime-boost' regimen, the CD8+ T cell response, which is believed to be
important in controlling HPV infection, is increased 5-10 fold.  The results of
this preclinical study were published in the June 1st 2001 issue of the journal
'Vaccine'.

For further information about Xenova and its products please visit the Xenova
website at www.xenova.co.uk



For Xenova: Disclaimer to take advantage of the 'Safe Harbor' provisions of the
US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains
'forward-looking statements,' including statements about the discovery,
development and commercialization of products. Various risks may cause Xenova's
actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the
forward looking statements, including: adverse results in our drug discovery and
clinical development programs; failure to obtain patent protection for our
discoveries; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by
third parties; our dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and
commercialize products and services; difficulties or delays in obtaining
regulatory approvals to market products and services resulting from our
development efforts; the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research
and development and to expand commercialization activities; and product
initiatives by competitors.  For a further list and description of the risks and
uncertainties we face, see the reports we have filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission.  We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or
revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise.


                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange