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ISA Pharmaceuticals receives US Orphan-Drug Designation for ISA101b in HPV16-positive Cervical Cancer

ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage company dedicated to developing rationally designed immunotherapeutics for oncology and infectious disease, today announced that it received Orphan Drug Designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA for its lead product ISA101b for treatment of Human Papilloma Virus type 16 (HPV16)-positive cervical cancer.

According to the latest statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV causes more than 34,000 cases of cancer in the United States each year. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer in women, with HPV16 being responsible for approximately 50% of cases. HPV16-positive cervical cancer is the number 2 cause of cancer for women in the age 15-44 in the US. At 1% annually, rates of cervical cancer have been dropping only marginally due to prevention through screening and prophylactic vaccination. There is an important medical need for disease modifying therapies to treat women with this terrible disease. For 2020, SEER databases project 13,800 new cases and 4,290 women dying from cervical cancer in the US. 

ISA101b is a clinical-stage immunotherapy targeting HPV16-induced diseases such as cervical and oropharyngeal cancer. It induces specific immune responses to the oncogenic E6 and E7 proteins of HPV16 and is based on ISA’s proprietary Synthetic Long Peptide (SLP®) technology.

“We are pleased to have Orphan Drug Designation for our ISA101b program targeting HPV16-positive cervical cancers,” said Kees Melief, Chief Scientific Officer of ISA Pharmaceuticals. “Our mission is to unleash the power of the patient’s own immune system to eradicate their cancer while maintaining optimal quality of life. We believe the best and most logical way to do this is through the use of SLPs. The metastatic form of cervical cancer has a particularly high unmet medical need with 5 year survival rates not going beyond 17%. The Orphan Drug Designation for ISA101b recognizes the urgent need for more efficacious treatment options for patients suffering from metastatic HPV16-positive cervical cancer.”

Source: ISA Pharmaceuticals (Press release)