Vaccinex is a clinical-stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of targeted biotherapeutics to treat serious diseases with unmet medical needs, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and autoimmune disorders. We believe we are the leader in the field of semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D) biology, and that we are the only company evaluating SEMA4D blockade as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, cancer or autoimmune disorders. SEMA4D is a signaling molecule that regulates the migration of immune and inflammatory cells to sites of injury, cancer or infection. We are leveraging our SEMA4D antibody platform and our extensive knowledge of SEMA4D biology to develop our lead product candidate pepinemab (VX15/2503), which we believe utilizes novel mechanisms of action. We are developing VX15/2503 (USAN Council approved name “pepinemab”) for the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s disease. In addition, we employ our proprietary platform technologies to identify and develop potential product candidates for sustained expansion of our internal product pipeline and to facilitate strategic development and commercial partnerships. Our lead platform technologies include our SEMA4D antibody platform and our ActivMAb antibody discovery platform.
- Our SEMA4D antibody platform is the application of our extensive knowledge of SEMA4D biology to develop our lead product candidate pepinemab (VX15/2503) for the treatment of various indications, including cancer and neuroinflammatory, neurodegenerative diseases. Pepinemab (VX15/2503)’s mechanisms of action block the SEMA4D signal and activate innate physiological mechanisms to respond to tumors or tissue injury. We have shown in preclinical studies that the biological activities associated with antibody blockade of SEMA4D can promote repair of neurological damage in neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as immune cell activity and infiltration into tumors.
- Our ActivMAb antibody discovery platform is a proprietary human antibody discovery platform based on a novel method for expressing large and diverse libraries of high affinity, full-length human monoclonal antibodies on the surface of vaccinia, a mammalian virus. We believe our ActivMAb technology offers (i) rapid generation of high affinity, full-length, human monoclonal antibodies synthesized and naturally modified in mammalian cells, (ii) expression and selection of antibodies that easily and predictably transition to manufacturing in mammalian lines, and most recently, (iii) expression of multi-pass transmembrane proteins as targets for drug selection. Our product candidate VX5 was generated by our ActivMAb platform and is currently in preclinical development for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. We intend to continue to utilize our ActivMAb platform to identify additional product candidates for our own pipeline development and for strategic collaborations.
In addition, we and our academic collaborators are using our Natural Killer T, or NKT, cell-based vaccine platform, which we refer to as our NKT vaccine platform, to discover product candidates that target and extend the activity of NKT cells. NKT cells work directly to kill certain types of parasites and cells, including tumor cells and virus-infected cells. We are applying our agonists to direct NKT cells to the site of tumors, potentially enhancing tumor-specific immunity through recruitment and activation of cytotoxic T cells and antibody-armed natural killer, or NK, cells that will work to eradicate the tumor.