Bavarian Nordic Vaccine Helps Prolong Life in Prostate Cancer Trial

By Ransdell Pierson

February 25, 2015

(Reuters) - An experimental therapeutic vaccine from Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic helped significantly extend survival in patients with advanced prostate cancer, according to results of a small early-stage trial conducted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The vaccine is designed to trigger an immune system response against prostate cancer cells.

The study involved 30 patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Patients were treated with the company's Prostvac vaccine, in addition to escalating doses of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's immunotherapy drug ipilimumab (Yervoy), an approved treatment for advanced melanoma.

On average, patients taking both drugs survived 31.3 months, compared with a predicted survival period of 18.5 months that had been based on historical survival data for older chemotherapy treatments.

Among the 15 patients who received the highest 10 milligram dose of Yervoy in combination with Prostvac, 20% remained alive at 80 months.

Data from the combination trial were especially impressive, considering that Yervoy had previously failed in Bristol-Myers' own trials to prolong survival in patients with advanced prostate cancer.

Complete data from the Prostvac study are slated to be presented on Thursday at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

Shares of Bavarian Nordic closed up almost 12% in Copenhagen after the company released the data on Tuesday.

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