ISA Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase I/II Clinical Trial of ISA101 in Patients with Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia (AIN)

September 16, 2013

Therapeutic vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus type 16 (HPV16) tested in HIV-positive male patients

Leiden, The Netherlands, September 16, 2013 – ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on rationally designed, fully synthetic therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections, today announced the initiation of a Phase I/II clinical study of its lead candidate ISA101 in HIV-positive men suffering from anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN). The study is supported by ZonMw, the Dutch Organisation for Health Research and Development, and is being conducted in The Netherlands.

ISA101 is a synthetic long peptide (SLP®) vaccine for the treatment of diseases induced by human papilloma virus type 16 (HPV16), such as cervical cancer, ano-genital premalignant and malignant lesions, and head and neck cancer.

The open-label, dose-response study will be conducted in 30 HIV-positive male patients suffering from HPV16-positive high-grade AIN, who failed previous treatment. In the first dose escalation part of the trial, patients will be vaccinated with ISA101 in three dosing cohorts three times at three-week intervals, either with or without administration of peg-interferon-α on the day of vaccination. An additional group of 15 patients will be treated with the optimal ISA101 schedule. Primary clinical endpoints will be toxicity and safety as well as regression of lesions at 3, 6 and 12 months. Secondary endpoints are regression of lesions at 18 months and HPV16-specific immunity in the blood.

AIN is caused by infection with high-risk papilloma viruses (HPV) and known as a cancer precursor lesion that can lead to the development of anal cancer. AIN of any grade has been reported to be present in 63–81% of HIV-positive men, and high-grade disease (AIN 2 or 3) in 25–52%. The majority (approximately 60%) of high-grade AIN is caused by HPV16. Incidence of anal cancer has increased significantly since 1997 in both men and women, and especially in HIV-positive men. This is assumed to be a result of the significantly prolonged life span of HIV-positive patients. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment of AIN is important to prevent malignancy. At present, there is no systemic treatment.

“This trial is part of our strategy to demonstrate that ISA101 is ideally suited to combat diseases caused by HPV16, a virus associated with several cancers and precancerous lesions,” said Jan Fagerberg, CMO of ISA Pharmaceuticals. “It is the first of two clinical trials of our lead product that we are initiating this year. The current trial will also specifically assess a novel, standardized intradermal injection route together with interferon-α administration. We expect first results from this trial in 2014.”


About ISA Pharmaceuticals

ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V. is a biopharmaceutical company developing rationally designed, fully synthetic therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections. The company has built a proprietary vaccine platform based on the Synthetic Long Peptide (SLP®) and AMPLIVANT technologies, which permit the generation of safe and effective vaccines with a known mechanism of action. SLP® vaccines are broadly applicable to multiple targets and ideally suited as monotherapy or as essential components in combination with conventional cancer treatments.

Two SLP® vaccines are currently in clinical development: ISA101, targeting human papillomavirus (HPV) induced diseases, and ISA102, targeting p53-overexpressing tumors. Clinical proof-of-concept has been established with ISA101 in vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), a pre-cancerous disease caused by HPV.

The company was founded in 2004 by Aglaia Oncology Fund and is based in Leiden, The Netherlands. For more information, please visit

About ISA101

ISA101, the lead product of ISA Pharmaceuticals, is a synthetic long peptide (SLP®) vaccine for the treatment of human papilloma virus type 16 (HPV16) induced diseases, including cervical cancer, most ano-genital premalignant and malignant lesions, and head and neck cancer. Among others, it has been tested in women with VIN, a condition with a comparable pathogenesis. In this study, ISA101 was well tolerated, and proved to be clinically effective with complete or partial regression of lesions in women with high-grade VIN. Clinical response was strongly associated with the induction of a robust and broad HPV16-specific immune response. In a small exploratory Phase II study in cervical cancer patients, similar robust immune responses were measured.

The vaccine has been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the EMA (2007) and the FDA (2011) for the treatment of HPV-positive VIN.

Contact and Media Inquiries:


Dr. Ludger Wess Ines-Regina Buth

Managing Partner Managing Partner

Tel. +49 40 88 16 59 64 Tel. +49 30 23 63 27 68


Contact // Kontakt akampion Newswire:

Dr. Ludger Wess

Managing Partner, akampion

Hamburg Office

T: +49 (0)40 88 16 59 64

F: +49 (0)40 88 16 59 65

Ines-Regina Buth

Managing Partner, akampion

Berlin Office

T: +49 (0)30 23632768

F: +49 (0)30 23632769

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