Aduro’s Counter-Intuitive Approach to Treating Diseases with Bacteria


Stephen Isaacs, Chairman and CEO of Aduro BioTech http://www.adurobiotech.com, discussed Aduro’s approach to using a bacterial vector to stimulate the immune system to fight cancers and infectious diseases at http://www.bio2devicegroup.org. Aduro BioTech is a clinical stage company with a platform technology based on the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Aduro modifies Listeria at the genetic level to make it safe for human use as both a therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine for treating cancer, infectious diseases and for protective vaccines against a number of organisms, including bioterror pathogens. Aduro is very clinically focused. Phase 1 trials have yielded very encouraging results. Analysis after the completion of the trial revealed a mesothelin-specific T cell response in multiple patients and expected survival was increased by several months. Particularly encouraging are results from sequential administration of GVAX cancer vaccines followed by CRS-207, which is the engineered strain of listeria that carries the antigen mesothelin. .

There are many advantages to listeria therapy. Listeria kick-starts the immune system and can be used for cancers and for infectious diseases. It stimulates broad immune potency, including innate and T-Cell responses, and therefore gives both innate immunity and adaptive T-cell immunity. Listeria can be given repeatedly, it avoids complex manufacturing, and there is no apparent long-term toxicity or long-term adverse effects. Listeria is applied through an IV and in current and future trials it has been approved as an outpatient procedure. Some short-term adverse effects are fever, chills, slight rise in BP, but these dissipate in 2-3 days. Aduro has bioengineered the Listeria (Lm) vector for human safety through key selective gene deletions. Intracellular localization of Lm activates key cell receptors, yields a high magnitude T-cell response and a high quality of T-cell response.

During an earlier study in 2007, with patients with tumors that expressed mesothelin, these patients showed specific T-cell immunity, but the earlier company was not able to continue the study, on account of funding issues. VCs had not seen the data on peak in immune response. Aduro was born in 2009 and has solid IP and has secured $29M in funding. On account of great synergy between listeria and other vaccine technologies, particularly GVAX where listeria can boost it and render it more effective, there is interest from other cancer therapeutic companies. Aduro is a platform technology with several products in the pipeline funded through NIH, SBIR and other grants. Aduro is conducting a Phase 2 trial of the sequential administration of GVAX Pancreas and CRS-207. The trial is taking place at multiple academic centers across the U.S. For more information, please see the listing at clinicaltrials.gov. The presentation was followed by Q&A.

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