Ghent, Belgium, 7 April 2021,
OncoDNA, a company specializing in precision medicine, and myNEO, an AI-driven company revolutionizing target identification within immuno-oncology, are thrilled to announce today a new collaboration in cancer care. The two companies agreed to consolidate their core technologies to enable the production of personalized vaccines for patients who have run out of treatment options.
With the global health crisis, the field of mRNA therapeutics has been moving faster than ever before. The technology has proven its worth and the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have sparked considerable enthusiasm to develop cures against the world’s deadliest diseases. In oncology, personalized vaccines can help fight cancer by selectively boosting the immune system. Indeed, these vaccines can teach the body to recognize and eliminate tumor-specific molecules (neoantigens) produced by the malignant cells, immunizing patients against their individual cancer. mRNA is one of the most promising technologies that can be used to develop these personalized cancer vaccines, due to its safe, rapid and flexible production protocols.
OncoDNA and myNEO will leverage their sequencing and bioinformatics technologies to identify and select the most effective neoantigens to target in a patient. While OncoDNA will perform whole genome and whole transcriptome sequencing, myNEO will handle the advanced interpretation of the sequenced data and design the optimal vaccine construct for maximum clinical benefit.
The project promises to guide patients through a completely personalized journey. The eligible patients would not only receive tailor-made vaccines but also personalized follow-up by monitoring circulating tumor DNA after inoculation. With its OncoFOLLOW™ liquid biopsy, OncoDNA will help monitor the patient response and the evolution of the cancer very closely using a patient-specific next-generation sequencing method.
“OncoDNA is delighted to jump with myNEO into this ambitious project. We stand at the forefront of innovation and the challenges ahead are herculean. Together we will work towards a world where patients with a hard-to-treat disease will have the opportunity to design their personalized elixirs. It may take years before this technology becomes a reality. However, the ongoing pilot tests on patients who do not respond to any therapy are showing promising results”, commented Jean-Pol Detiffe, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer and Founder of OncoDNA.
“Since day 1, myNEO’s mission has been to unlock the promise of immunotherapy via deep genomic and immune profiling of tumors,” described Cedric Bogaert, co-founder and CEO of myNEO. “Currently, our technology is used by biopharma partners to design the upcoming breakthrough immuno-oncology therapies. This project takes our ambition one step further in enabling OncoDNA’s vast network of clinicians and patients to directly benefit from this deep genomic and immune profiling. As such, this project holds great potential to make individualized immunotherapies more accessible to patients.”
OncoDNA and myNEO are now investigating partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies that would stand ready to handle the manufacturing side of the project.
OncoDNA is a theranostic and genomic company with renown expertise in precision medicine. The company provides comprehensive testing of cancer biomarkers (DNA, RNA and proteins) on solid and liquid biopsies as well NGS data interpretation services to oncologists, research institutes and biopharmaceutical companies across the globe. The company headquarters are based in Belgium, and its two entities – IntegraGen, a company specializing in the decryption of the human genome and Biosequence – are headquartered in France and Spain, respectively. The group employs approx. 115 employees in 9 countries, works with an international network of 35 distributors and collaborates with one European-based and one US-based subcontracted accredited laboratories. For further information, visit www.oncodna.com.
myNEO (Ghent, Belgium) developed a platform enabling genomic-informed drug discovery in the key therapeutic areas of oncology and immunology. The data-driven ImmunoEngine identifies the most efficacious targets (epitopes) for each cancer patient, uniquely presented on the tumor cells and capable of redirecting a patient’s immune system, leading to elimination of the cancer cells. The discovery platform enables targets to be identified even in hard-to-treat tumours with a cold/lowly mutated profile. Similarly, the company has applied its technology to identify immunogenic sequences in infectious diseases, capable of protecting populations with strong broad immune responses. myNEO is one of the companies that emerged from the Novalis biotech incubator fund at the end of 2018, founded by two leading entrepreneurs already known for several successes in the biotech industry: Wim Van Criekinge, professor of computational biology at Ghent University, and childhood friend Jan Van den Berghe.