By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Cancer Vaccine Week -- Vaccinogen, Inc., (OTC.QB: VGEN) a cancer immunotherapy development company, announced that it completed the initial closing of a private placement of $80 million of units and common stock. Vaccinogen received gross proceeds of $10 million in this first closing (see also Vaccinogen, Inc.).
Vaccinogen is preparing to start ACTIVE, a confirmatory Phase IIIb pivotal study of the patient-specific vaccine in patients with resectable, Stage 2 colon cancer under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) classification. In a previous Phase III study, OncoVAX(®) reduced recurrence of cancer from approximately one in three to one in ten Stage 2 colon cancer patients[i].
A Stockholm-based investor group known as The Investment Syndicate ("TIS"), representing certain family offices and led by Swedish entrepreneur Anders Halldin, paid the initial $10 million in equity financing following Vaccinogen's satisfaction of certain closing conditions. The remaining $70 million will be delivered in four separate closings upon completion of certain milestones.
Vaccinogen also announced significant changes to its management team and Board of Directors.
Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., MD, a noted pediatric neurosurgeon and existing Vaccinogen Medical Advisory Board member, has been appointed to the Board of Directors and named Chairman of the Board. He is an Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and serves on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Kellogg's, and Costco.
"Cancer disguises itself well as non-threatening human tissue. OncoVAX pulls off that mask, exposes it as a threat and provides the immune system a roadmap to effectively destroy the cancer. Based on Phase III OncoVAX data published in The Lancet, I believe that Vaccinogen's unique tumor-cell vaccine approach to 'train' the body to attack its own cancer has the potential to significantly reduce recurrences and mortality in colon cancer and many other pervasive malignancies affecting the global population," said Dr. Carson.
Vaccinogen co-founder and President Andrew L. Tussing, has been appointed to the Board of Directors and named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to replace Michael G. Hanna, Jr., Ph.D., inventor of OncoVAX and co-founder of Vaccinogen. Dr. Hanna has stepped down as CEO and as Chairman of the Board effective as of this initial closing. Dr. Hanna will continue to serve as a director and will now be Chairman Emeritus. Dr. Hanna will also remain on Vaccinogen'sMedical Advisory Board and serve as special advisor to the CEO to assure his transfer of technical knowledge to new clinical and technical personnel to be hired for development of cancer therapeutic products.
Mr. Halldin has been appointed to the Board of Directors as the TIS representative under which he will also serve as Vice Chairman. It is currently anticipated that Mr. Halldin will also serve as Chairman of the compensation, nominating and audit committees.
Alan Cohen, Daniel Fitzgerald and Daniel Kane have each resigned from Vaccinogen's Board of Directors effective with this initial closing.
"Vaccinogen thanks Mr. Cohen, Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Kane for their years of service on the Vaccinogen Board of Directors and wishes them all well in their other endeavors," Tussing said. "This new funding round represents a potentially transformative investment that if fully realized could support Vaccinogen through the final stages of development of OncoVAX, which, if approved by the FDA, we believe would be the first-ever patient-specific immunotherapy to prevent recurrence of colon cancer. Tussing continued, "we look forward to building on Dr. Hanna's discoveries and dedication that brought OncoVAX to this point and to working with leading cancer centers around the world to launch this important confirmatory Phase IIIb study in the coming months."
Since co-founding Vaccinogen in 2007, Mr. Tussing has overseen the financial and operational management of the company and co-led several initiatives including establishing and maintaining the Dutch cGMP manufacturing facility, leading Vaccinogen's capital raising efforts, including this financing and Vaccinogen's successful efforts to become a public company.
Keywords for this news article include: Biological Products, Cancer Vaccines, Oncology, Vaccinogen, Vaccinogen Inc.
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