OncoSec's intratumoral delivery platform to be tested on new partner's cancer candidates

Oncology company Heat Biologics ($HTBX) is partnering with OncoSec ($ONCS), developer of the ImmunoPulse intratumoral DNA delivery platform. The two companies will evaluate the combination of the immunotherapy approaches developed by each company, according to a release.

Heat has two Phase II candidates for non-small cell lung cancer and nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer.

Meanwhile, OncoSec is developing an intratumorally delivered Phase II candidate for a number of cancers. The candidate contains a DNA plasmid encoded for production of the cytokine IL-12 in a bid to increase presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in the immune system.

Using the OncoSec platform--Courtesy of OncoSec

The plasmid is delivered across the cell membrane via electroporation. "We're not using a biologic delivery, we're using electrical stimulation to briefly open the cell membrane wall and then close the cells as soon as electroporation is stopped," OncoSec CEO Punit Dhillon previously told FierceDrugDelivery. The delivery device is a syringelike applicator with needles, he added.

Now, Heat will evaluate the efficacy of its candidates using OncoSec's platform.

"Heat's ImPACT platform is a unique approach that specifically activates tumor specific cytotoxic T cells. We expect it will be effective with OncoSec's proprietary intratumoral delivery platform that has already shown promising clinical activity in both local and distant tumors in patients with metastatic melanoma," said OncoSec Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Robert Pierce in a statement.

Heat says its vaccine candidates deliver live, genetically modified, irradiated human cells that pump out cancer-associated antigens to stimulate cancer patients' immune systems.

Besides OncoSec, researchers at Northwestern University are studying electroporation as a means of drug delivery. In 2013, they announced the development of a technique to drill temporary holes in cell membranes to deliver drugs more easily into the cells.

- read the release