Picture of Carlos de Sause, CEO of ultimovacs

Ultimovacs to launch new clinical study

Ultimovacs announces a new clinical study in lung cancer.


The company’s fifth phase II combination study in lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer, NSCLC) is called LUNGVAC.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers globally and by far the biggest cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. NSCLC accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. The news of the new clinical study comes as we are entering the month of November, the “Lung Cancer Awareness Month”.

For patients with advanced lung cancer

An estimated 850,000 new cases of NSCLC are diagnosed each year, according to Ultimovacs. Most of these cases are metastatic patients, for whom the 5-year survival rate is around 7%.

“We see this new trial as a significant opportunity for Ultimovacs to make a difference to the lives of thousands of patients with advanced lung cancer,” said Carlos de Sousa, CEO of Ultimovacs, in the company’s press release.

Sponsored by Drammen Hospital

The LUNGVAC study will be a multi-center, randomized, open-label trial assessing the safety and efficacy of Ultimovacs vaccine candidate UV1 in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor cancer medicine pembrolizumab versus pembrolizumab alone in NSCLC patients with advanced or metastatic disease.

Checkpoint inhibitors are a type of immunotherapy. They block proteins that stop the immune system from attacking the cancer cells.  

Professor Odd Terje Brustugun will be the principal investigator for the study, which will be sponsored by Drammen Hospital in Norway. The study will enroll approximately 138 patients and will be conducted at 8-10 clinical centres in Norway. The first patient is expected to be treated in the first part of 2022. Data read-out from the trial is anticipated by the end of 2024.

Read more in the company’s press release at Oslo Børs.

A month of good news

This week, Ultimovacs also announced that they had a successful private placement, raising NOK 270 Million in a significantly oversubscribed round.

Last week, Ultimovacs reached a significant milestone by receiving a dual Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA Fast Track status is reserved for research programs focused on developing drugs that address severe medical conditions and fill an unmet medical need to accelerate promising treatments to patients with high unmet needs.

About the company

Ultimovacs is developing immune-stimulatory vaccines to treat a broad range of cancers. Ultimovacs’ lead universal cancer vaccine candidate UV1 targets human telomerase (hTERT), present in 85-90% of cancers in all stages of tumor growth. By directing the immune system to hTERT antigens, UV1 drives CD4 helper T cells to the tumor to activate an immune system cascade and increase anti-tumor responses. With a broad Phase II program, Ultimovacs aims to clinically demonstrate UV1’s impact in multiple cancer types in combination with other immunotherapies. Ultimovacs’ second technology approach, based on the proprietary Tetanus-Epitope-Targeting (TET) platform, combines tumor-specific peptides and adjuvant in the same molecule and entered Phase I studies in 2021. For further information, please see www.ultimovacs.com



Lytix Biopharma and UiT with exclusive agreement

Lytix Biopharma enters into an exclusive license agreement with the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) about drug candidates that combat cancer cells by stimulating the body’s own immune cells.

The Norwegian biotech company and Oslo Cancer Cluster member Lytix Biopharma has developed a new group of promising drug candidates together with a research team at the Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The drug candidates can combat cancer cells by stimulating the body’s own immune cells.

“Over the past year, we have achieved several key milestones with our most advanced drug candidate, LTX-315, and have successfully confirmed the unique potential of our technology platform. Through one of the joint projects with the scientific expertise at UiT, a set of new promising molecules have been discovered. This exclusive license agreement expands our overall product portfolio, which further demonstrates the robustness of our approach to this segment,” says CEO Øystein Rekdal at Lytix Biopharma in a press release from the company.

A broad collaboration

The drug candidates licensed have been developed in a collaboration between UiT and Lytix Biopharma, partly funded by the Norwegian Research Council and the Norwegian Cancer Society. A combined team from UiT, Norce, Oslo University Hospital and Institute Gustave Roussy in Paris have contributed to the project. Lytix Biopharma originally stems from the Arctic University in Tromsø.

This agreement grants Lytix Biopharma all rights to further develop and commercialize this new class of compounds.

Partnership with Aurelius Biotherapeutics

Lytix also forms a strategic partnership with the US-based specialist veterinary medicine company Aurelius Biotherapeutics to expedite the progression of the compounds that seem especially promising and suitable for the veterinary medicine market.

Aurelius Biotherapeutics now initiates further studies on this compound, to validate the initial data, and to refine its target product profile. Aurelius is currently also developing their own lead candidate, which now will be combined with the Lytix drug candidate.

Read more about the new partnerships in the press release from Lytix Biopharma. You can download it here.

Kerstin Jakobsson, CEO of Kongsberg Beam Technology

Experienced CEO joins Kongsberg Beam Technology

Kerstin Jakobsson has been appointed CEO to our member the Norwegian medtech company Kongsberg Beam Technology.

Kongsberg Beam Technology develops an advanced steering system able to deliver personalised proton therapy with better precision and less damage to healthy tissue. Proton therapy is an accepted and established cancer treatment and compared to traditional radiation therapy it focuses the energy on the tumour itself with less radiation to surrounding healthy tissue.

Kerstin Jakobsson has over thirty years of experience in the commercialisation of new technologies in the life science sector, with responsibility for international strategic and operational leadership. Jakobsson has been part of the management team of Medicon Village since the start and CEO for the last three years and has developed it into one of Scandinavia’s leading life science innovation parks.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator has worked closely with Kongsberg Beam Technology for several years to develop the company through its SIVA-sponsored programme. Bjørn Klem, general manager, and Thomas Andersson, senior advisor business development, have taken a hands-on approach, which is what attracted Jakobsson to the position as CEO.

“I am familiar with Oslo Cancer Cluster because the organisation covers areas of interest with Medicon Village. I have known Bjørn for many years through the NOME network and Thomas introduced Kongsberg Beam Technology to me,” Jakobsson explained.

Jakobsson has worked with many different start-ups and public listed companies throughout the years. For instance, Jakobsson was CEO for the two successful medtech companies Spectracure and Ortoma – both are now listed on the Swedish stock exchange.

“I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I feel at home in start-ups.”

“I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I feel at home in start-ups. I prefer a good mix of strategy and implementation, which is possible in smaller organisations. To build and develop a company is very rewarding. I am also familiar with the challenges in taking on this role. I benefit from my contacts in the extensive life science network that I have built over the years,” Jakobsson commented.

Focus on personalised healthcare

Kongsberg Beam Technology is a company focused on improving proton therapy in oncology. There are 20 million cancer cases every year and many cancer patients benefit from radiation therapy. The disadvantage is that radiation therapy has several side effects on healthy tissue. Proton therapy allows more control as to exactly where the energy from the particles is released, without damaging healthy tissue surrounding the tumour.

“With proton therapy, the dosage is delivered to a more specific target, the tumour. The dosage is considerably less in the surrounding healthy areas, which can make a noticeable difference for the occurrence of side effects,” said Jakobsson.

“Using artificial intelligence and digital twins, it will be possible to control the proton beam in real-time during treatment.”

Kongsberg Beam Technology develops a steering system called MAMA-K that will make proton therapy even more personalised and precise, and with MAMA-K the full potential of proton therapy can be achieved. Using artificial intelligence and digital twins, it will be possible to control the proton beam in real-time during treatment, even when the patients or their organs are inadvertently moving.

“Kongsberg Beam Technology is an interesting company, because the technology is highly advanced, and the management are extremely skilled and experienced. There is a solid market need, with a large potential for growth, and there is a long-term vision connected to the construction of two new proton therapy facilities in Norway,” Jakobsson explained.

The future for proton therapy

Proton therapy is emerging as a critical treatment method against cancer, which is why Norway are building two proton centres. The centres are planned to be completed in 2024 and are located at the Radium Hospital in Oslo and Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen. Kongsberg Beam Technology already has a collaboration agreement with the Radium Hospital, which is a part of Oslo University Hospital (a comprehensive cancer centre), to use the prospective facilities to test the MAMA-K system.

“The unique thing about Kongsberg Beam Technology is the strong collaboration between the Kongsberg industry, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo University Hospital and the university.”

“The unique thing about Kongsberg Beam Technology is the strong collaboration between the Kongsberg industry, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo University Hospital and the university. Spearhead knowledge from the Kongsberg industry is the basis for the technology. Oslo Cancer Cluster has provided a network in oncology which has made it possible to take the patented ideas further. We are essentially identifying the bottle necks in proton therapy to deliver solutions for the treatment centres,” said Jakobsson.

The plan for 2021 was to attract NOK 10 million in private placements. Less than two days after the first investor presentation, the emission was oversubscribed to NOK 13 million. Now, the company’s focus is to deliver a proof of concept within the next 12 months. The Norwegian Research Council is already supporting the company during this development phase with NOK 23 million.

Do you want to learn more?

Get in touch with Kerstin Jakobsson at kerstin.jakobsson@kongsbergbeamtech.com

Listen to Jakobsson’s guest appearance in the Radium podcast: Episode 161 by Radforsk Investeringsstiftelse (in Norwegian/Swedish only)

Read about Kongsberg Beam Technology in the following news articles: (in Norwegian only)

Previous articles on oslocancercluster.no about Kongsberg Beam Technology:

Dr Deborah Owen, Partner, Dehns. Photo: Dehns

Dehns acquires Norwegian office

Our member Dehns announced this week that the company will set up a local office in Oslo.

The law firm Dehns has acquired the Norwegian Intellectual Property consultancy firm Leogriff. This means Dehns will now have an active Norwegian presence with a local office in Oslo.

Dehns is a law firm specialized in patents and trademarks. Dehns’ attorneys have insight in many different technologies in the engineering, chemistry and biotechnology sectors.

With this acquisition, Dehns gains the highly-experienced Leogriff team with all their additional competencies, skills and expertise in Intellectual Property. Leogriff’s clients include companies, investors, research institutes and universities.

What does this mean for Norwegian companies in cancer innovation and life science?

“Companies in the cancer field and life science sector face many challenges and need an excellent network of advisors to navigate these successfully.”
Dr Deborah Owen, Partner, Dehns.

“Intellectual Property (IP) issues are key to such companies at all stages, and we are delighted that the opening of the Dehns’ Norwegian office provides an expansion of the Dehns’ team to provide even greater experience and expertise in areas relating to IP management and strategy consultancy, which will be of real benefit to Norwegian companies of all sizes in these sectors,” continued Owen.

Dehns was founded in 1920 and is one of Europe’s leading firms of patent and trademark attorneys. The company has more than 230 staff across 8 offices: London, Munich, Oxford, Brighton, Manchester, Bristol, Sandwich and, now, Oslo.

Dr Adrian Samuels, Partner, Dehns. Photo: Dehns

Dr Adrian Samuels, Partner, Dehns. Photo: Dehns

“We are delighted that, having been working closely with Norwegian innovators and industry leaders for over half a century, Dehns’ ongoing success will be supported by this direct investment in Norway.”
Adrian Samuels, Partner, Dehns.

For more information, please read Dehns’ press release or visit Dehns official website.