John Furey, Imvax CEO

A neu­ro­sur­geon spent the past 30 years de­vel­op­ing a neoanti­gen tu­mor vac­cine. Now he has $112M for a piv­otal test

As a neu­ro­sur­geon, David An­drews knew there wasn’t much he could do for his glioma pa­tients af­ter re­sect­ing — rarely ful­ly — their tu­mor. Even with the best treat­ment and care avail­able, me­di­an over­all sur­vival is just some­where be­tween 14 and 16 months.

Then in the 1990s, his men­tor at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty in­tro­duced him to Re­na­to Baser­ga, a pathol­o­gist who had been study­ing the ef­fect of us­ing an­ti­sense oligonu­cleotide to knock out the in­sulin-like growth fac­tor type 1 re­cep­tor in can­cers. As IGF-R1 dri­ves tu­mor growth and metas­ta­sis, the pre­clin­i­cal rea­son­ing went, im­plant­i­ng a mol­e­cule tar­get­ing the re­cep­tor to­geth­er with the tu­mor ma­te­r­i­al near lymph nodes can slow down the spread of the can­cer.

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