Opexa’s CEO Gives Update on T-Cell Therapy at Vatican Conference

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Opexa Therapeutics, Inc., announced that its president and chief executive officer, Neil K. Warma, recently gave a presentation on immunotherapy and its potential for treating autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, at the recent Cellular Horizons: The Third International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and its Cultural Impact held at the Vatican.

Neil K. Warma

Neil K. Warma

Mr. Warma’s presentation was titled, “Can T-cells be Used to Treat Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) and Other Autoimmune Disorders?

Opexa’s leading therapeutic candidate, Tcelna, developed using the company’s proprietary T-cell technology, is a personalized T-cell immunotherapy now in a Phase 2b clinical development program (Abili-T) for the treatment of secondary progressive MS. The therapy consists of myelin-reactive T-cells that are recovered from patients ‘peripheral blood, expanded, and subsequently reintroduced in an attenuated form via subcutaneous injection. The process is designed to trigger a powerful immune response against subsets of autoreactive T-cells that attack myelin.

Top-line results from the Abili-T trial (NCT01684761) are expected in late 2016.

“I am extremely pleased that Opexa is taking part in this global discussion about the importance of immunotherapies and the transformative role they could play in treating life threatening diseases,” Warma said in a press release. “Opexa has been a pioneer in the development of immunotherapies for over a decade. Our lead therapy candidate, Tcelna, is a personalized T-cell immunotherapy that is in a Phase IIb clinical development program for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, an area with a serious unmet medical need. It is for patients like these, with limited or no treatment options, that we, as a community, continue to focus on the advancement and development of potentially life changing therapies, and coming together at The Vatican is a step in that direction.”

This year’s conference, hosted by The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, the Stem for Life Foundation, and the STOQ (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest) Foundation, had a special focus on pediatric cancers, rare genetic diseases, and diseases characteristic of aging.

Opexa Therapeutics specializes in designing personalized immunotherapies for autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica.  The company, said Dr. Robin Smith, president of The Stem For Life Foundation, “has a unique understanding of how cellular therapies can be used to treat a full spectrum of auto-immune disease.”

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