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Agenus Says Phase 2 Study Of Brain Cancer Vaccine Shows Improved Survival

Biotechnology company Agenus Inc. (AGEN) Monday said a Phase 2 study result showed that more than 90 percent of aggressive brain cancer patients treated with Prophage Series G-200 were alive at six months after surgery and 30 percent were alive at twelve months.

Agenus said the next phase of development is underway with an NCI funded, large-scale, randomized trial investigating Prophage Series G-200 in combination with Avastin(bevacizumab). Avastin is approved for the treatment of recurrent Glioblastoma multiforme or GBM.

The shares are up more than 30 percent in pre-market trading.

"Glioblastoma tumors are often resistant to standard therapies and the extended survival observed in patients treated with Prophage Series vaccine is very promising," said Andrew Parsa, corresponding author of the study and chair of neurological surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Michael Marchese Professor and chair of the department of neurological surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Agenus develops novel immune system activating treatments for cancers and infectious diseases. According to the company, the primary objective of this multi-center, single arm Phase 2 trial was to assess the survival rate at six months.

The Phase 2 trial enrolled 41 patients, with a mean age of 55 years, with surgically resectable recurrent high-grade GBM, the deadliest form of brain cancer.

The company noted that the median overall survival was about eleven months. This compares favorably to the expected median survival for recurrent GBM patients of three to nine months.

The data was published in a manuscript in Neuro-Oncology, the official journal of the Society of Neuro-Oncology.

GBM is the most common and most aggressive form of primary brain cancer. Despite approved therapy, patients with GBM face a poor prognosis. Prophage Series vaccines are currently being studied in both newly diagnosed and recurrent GBM.

Prophage Series vaccines are individualized cancer vaccines. Each Prophage Series vaccine is manufactured using a patient's own tumor after surgical removal.

Each vaccine contains the 'antigenic fingerprint' of the patient's particular cancer and is designed to activate the patient's immune system to specifically target and destroy cancer cells bearing this fingerprint.

AGEN closed Friday's regular trading at $2.44 on the Nasdaq. In the pre-market activity, the shares are up 30.33 percent.

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