TapImmune Inc. is a company focused on increasing the efficacy of vaccines by enhancing antigen presentation through the use of the Transporter of Antigen Processing (TAP). Replacement of this transporter provides a significant immune response with the potential to treat a variety of cancers which lack normal amount of TAP.
The company is working on several significant products. TapImmune’s lead product candidate, AdhTAP, is designed to restore and augment antigen presentation and subsequent recognition and killing of cancer cells by the immune system. The company is scheduled to move ahead with clinical manufacturing and toxicology studies for this cancer therapy.
TapImmune is also developing a TAP-based prophylactic vaccine which possibly may increase the efficacy of prophylactic vaccines against many pandemic infectious diseases by up to 1000 times. While the company’s current focus is on the use of TAP in vaccines, it is also focusing a significant effort on other disease modalities that can potentially benefit from the TAP platform.
The company recently provided a corporate update to their shareholders. The years of 2008 and 2009 were difficult for many companies, but TapImmune seems to have emerged stronger – raising $1 million in the capital markets – and better positioned to move forward.
TapImmune’s management stated that 2009 was a transformational year for the company. In the last quarter of 2009, TapImmune cemented its relationship with Netherlands-based Crucell (NASDAQ: CRXL). Crucell is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on research and development, production and marketing of vaccines, proteins and antibodies that prevent and/or treat infectious diseases. Global drug giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) owns 18 percent of Crucell.
The outbreak of pandemic diseases such as swine flu (H1N1) in 2009 and the constant threat of cancer has brought to the forefront the need for vaccines to both ameliorate as well as hopefully eliminate these diseases. Interest in the immunotherapy field was also stimulated last year by the development of Provenge for prostate cancer by Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN).
Over the last two years, TapImmune has been working diligently on finding suitable partners to form collaborative arrangements that will be mutually beneficial. One such arrangement announced on February 1, 2010 is with the Aeras Global TB Foundation. Aeras is one of the foremost non-profit organizations developing new approaches for tuberculosis (TB) vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, in 2007 there were 13.7 million active cases of tuberculosis, 9.3 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths from TB.
TapImmune and Aeras signed a letter of intent for research and development collaboration with an overall goal to evaluate the efficacy of TAP in concert with novel TB vaccine candidates. The company is expected to announce more such important partnerships in the future.
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