Vaccinex Announces Initiation of Phase III Clinical Trial for Huntington’s Disease

Vaccinex, Inc. recently announced it has initiated a Phase II clinical trial to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of anti-semaphorin 4D antibody VX15/2503 (VX15) in Huntington’s disease (HD), a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that typically manifests in mid-adult life. This clinical trial, termed the SIGNAL clinical trial, will be performed with the assistance of the Huntington Study Group and is designed to evaluate VX15 antibody in up to 84 subjects with late-prodromal or early manifest HD.

The SIGNAL trial is based on our prior research of neurodegenerative disease mechanisms, where we demonstrated in preclinical models that semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D) triggers activation of both microglia and astrocytes, the innate inflammatory cells of the central nervous system. The chronic activation of microglia and astrocytes has been implicated as a potentially important disease mechanism in HD, progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), and other neurodegenerative disorders. VX15 antibody is designed to block the functional activity of SEMA4D. The SIGNAL clinical trial will build upon preclinical studies in an animal model of HD and safety data from a Phase I dose-escalation clinical trial of VX15 in MS patients that was completed in November 2014.

“We are very pleased to have initiated this clinical trial of our novel agent in a disease with such an important unmet need,” said Dr. Maurice Zauderer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vaccinex. “The preclinical data generated with our antibody in an animal model of Huntington’s disease and our understanding of the mechanism of action suggest that this investigational agent may have the potential to delay the onset or slow the progression of HD.”

Vaccinex, Inc. is a privately held clinical-stage immunotherapy company engaged in the discovery and development of human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease. Vaccinex utilizes its proprietary ActivMAb Antibody Discovery Technology for rapid, mammalian cell-based antibody selection to build its antibody pipeline and in service to its biopharmaceutical partners. ActivMAb combines the advantages of rapid and sensitive selection by virus panning and cell sorting in one technology, with intrinsic selection of antibodies that are efficiently expressed and stable in mammalian cells, which the company believes is different than other selection technologies. For more information, visit