novel therapeutic cancer vaccines

novel therapeutic cancer vaccines

novel therapeutic cancer vaccinesnovel therapeutic cancer vaccinesnovel therapeutic cancer vaccines

The next frontier for cancer immunotherapy.


Our Story

3D Illustration of T-Cells Attacking a Cancer Cell

Immunotherapy for Cancer

  • Cancer immunotherapy has become the most promising approach to elimination and cure of malignant cancer.
  • Checkpoint (PD-1/PD-L1) blockade therapy and engineered T cell immunotherapy using the T cell receptor (TCR) or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) have shown impressive and durable clinical responses against many types of cancer.
  • Importantly, the clinical responses of these immunotherapies depend on T-cell recognition of tumor antigens, particularly mutation-derived neoantigens.

3D Illustration of T-Cells

Our Platforms

  • Our researchers have discovered numerous cancer antigens, and the team has identified critical epigenetic regulators in T-cell differentiation and in induced pluripotent stem cell reprogramming.
  • They were also the first to demonstrate the presence of antigen-specific regulatory T cells and their specific tumor antigens in human cancer, capable of inducing local immune tolerance at tumor sites.

3D Illustration of a Dendritic Cell Presenting an Antigen to T-Lymphocytes.

Our Future

  • We are a a clinical-stage, cancer immunotherapy company focused on development and commercialization of novel therapeutic cancer vaccines
  • We firmly believe that harnessing the immune system to eradicate malignant cells is a promising approach to cancer therapy, esp. tissue-agnostic immunotherapy.
  • We have broad intellectual property protection for platform and products plus substantial know-how and trade secrets.


Cancer Antigen & Neoantigen Discovery


  • The choice of immune targets is vital to the success of immunotherapy, particularly for TCR/CAR-T therapy.
  • We have identified tumor antigens (including TRP1/2, NY-ESO-1, & LAGE1) as well as neoantigens (including mutated CDC27, fusion protein & fibronection) that are recognized by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells [published in Science (1999), JEM (1999 & 2002) & Immunity (2004)].
  • Development of a genetic targeting expression system has facilitated identification of many neoantigens recognized by antigen-specific CD4+ T cells derived from cancer tissues.
  • Among these cancer targets, NY-ESO-1-specific T cell receptor (TCR) engineered T cell therapy has shown a 55% clinical response rate.  NY-ESO-1 is one of the best antigens identified to date for immunotherapy of many solid cancers.
  • Recently, we combined the exome- and RNA-seq with our targeting expression technology for rapid identification of somatic mutations and true neoantigens.

Cancer Vaccine & TCR/CAR-engineered T Cell Immunotherapy


  • Once tumor antigens and neoantigens are identified, both vaccine-based and TCR/CAR-T immunotherapies will be designed and applied to cancer patients.
  • Our previous work shows that dendritic cell/peptide vaccines can induce strong antitumor immunity [Nature Biotechnology (2002), JCI (2004), Investigation of New Drugs (2014)].
  • We are currently working on NY-ESO-1 TCR-T cell immunotherapy as well as peptide/RNA-based vaccines.
  • Despite the impressive clinical response of checkpoint blockade therapy in many types of cancer, this therapy only shows limited (less than 20%) clinical response against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer & head-neck cancers.
  • We intend to develop novel strategies for immunotherapy of these cancers by using neoantigen-specific vaccines and TCR immunotherapy, and how to improve CAR-T technology for solid cancers. 

Blockade of Immune Suppression to Boost Immunotherapy

PDB 4R09
Crystal Structure of Human TLR8

  • Regulatory T cells (Treg) cells play a crucial role in maintaining immune homeostasis and self-tolerance  For example, if an immune response is activated and unchecked, it results in antoimmune disease.
  • There are several built-in immune checkpoints to negatively regulate the immune response and maintain the delicate balance between immune response and immune tolerance. These checkpoint immune suppression mechanisms include CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitory signaling of T cell activation, Treg & myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
  • We showed the presence of tumor-specific CD4+ Treg cells in cancer-derived tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes [Immunity (2004 & 2007)].  Treg-mediated immune suppression at tumor sites may, at least in part, explain why current cancer vaccines induce only weak and transient immune responses and fail to produce therapeutic benefit.
  • We were the first to demonstrate that human Toll-like receptor (TLR) 8 can reverse Treg cell function upon stimulation by the ligand, Poly-G3 oligonucleotide [Science (2005) & Immunity (2007)].
  • The use of TLR8 ligands to overcome Treg-mediated immune suppression may offer new opportunities to improve the outcome of cancer immunotherapy. 

About Us

Our Mission

To use leading-edge techniques & strategies to harness the immune system as a powerful new approach to cancer therapy.

Our Approach

With recent technology advances, it has become possible to dissect the immune response to patient-specific neoantigens, which is critical in mediating a tumor-specific immune response against cancer.  Understanding neoantigen-specific T cells and their innate immune regulation is critical for the development of novel personalized cancer immunotherapy.

Our Leadership

Michael W. Washabaugh, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Teresa G. Hayes, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Donald Payne, MBA, CPA

Chief Financial Officer



A therapeutic HLA-restricted peptide vaccine for the treatment of NY-ESO-1-positive solid cancers.  A Phase I trial demonstrated feasibility & potential biologic anti-tumor activity for the peptide component of the vaccine (NCT00616291).


A combination therapy of IMT-001 plus an anti-PD-1 blockade.


A combination therapy of IMT-001 plus a Treg cell checkpoint blockade.


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We ask that you review our “Legal Notice” section of the website, which includes important information you should consider.  The Legal Notice includes information relating to, among other things, use of and reliance upon the content of this website, our use of forward looking information and other important disclaimers.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

Legal Notice

All statements other than historical facts are forward–looking statements and are based on the current expectations, forecasts, and assumptions of Immunova Therapeutics, Inc.

This site may be considered advertising under certain jurisdictions.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Immunova Therapeutics, Inc. and the Immunova Therapeutics logo are trademarks of Immunova Therapeutics, Inc.  Other marks herein are the properties of their respective owners.

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Immunova Therapeutics

7707 Fannin Street, Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77054, United States

(832) 491-0069


Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Saturday - Sunday: Closed