Photo: Thomas Brun / NTB
In June 2019, Ultimovacs was listed following a successful share issue in which the company raised NOK 370 million. Inven2 helped to establish the company in 2011. The funds will finance the company’s development plan for the universal cancer vaccine UV1.
Investors showed great interest in the listing of Ultimovacs on Oslo Stock Exchange and the issue was oversubscribed, the company wrote in a press release. Major Norwegian and international institutional investors have become new shareholders in the company, including specialised health funds.
There was wide interest in subscribing for Ultimovacs’ shares, and it will have around 1,500 shareholders when listed. The company is valued at NOK 870 million on its stock exchange listing.
‘It is very gratifying for the Norwegian health industry and Ultimovacs that national and international investors have shown such confidence in the company. Given the current uncertainty in the market, it is particularly pleasing to note the great interest from both international investors and small-scale savers. I look forward to following the company in the time ahead,’ says Jonas Einarsson, chair of Ultimovacs’ board and CEO of Radforsk.
Will finance development plan
The funds raised by Ultimovacs in connection with the stock exchange listing will finance the company’s development plan for the universal cancer vaccine UV1. The main project is a large clinical trial to document the effect of the vaccine. In this trial, UV1 will be combined with other immunotherapies in patients with malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) at around 30 hospitals in Norway, Europe, the USA and possibly Australia.
Ultimovacs has already run three small-scale clinical trials of the vaccine on patients with lung cancer, prostate cancer and malignant melanoma at the Norwegian Radium Hospital.
‘The cancer vaccine has shown promising clinical signals in the studies we have conducted at the Norwegian Radium Hospital. Based on the results, we have established a development plan to document that our vaccine is effective in cancer patients.
I am delighted that we have now completed a successful listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange. It means that the practical conditions are now in place to put our development plan into action,’ says Øyvind Kongstun Arnesen, CEO of Ultimovacs.
Ole Kristian Hjelstuen, CEO of Inven2, attended the bell ceremony at Oslo Stock Exchange on 3 June, to mark the company’s listing on the main index.
‘This is a big day for Ultimovacs, and we extend our warm congratulations. Inven2 is proud to have been involved in the company since the start, and looks forward to following its development going forward. The cancer vaccine UV1 can make a great difference to cancer patients across the globe,’ says Hjelstuen. He was board member of the company until very recently.
Ultimovacs ASA is a Norwegian company that works on developing cancer immunotherapy in the form of a universal cancer vaccine. The company currently has 19 employees and is located in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park near the Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo and in Uppsala in Sweden. Ultimovacs’ biggest owners are Gjelsten Holding AS, Canica AS, the Sundt family, Inven2 AS, Watrium AS and Radforsk.
Cancer vaccine UV1
Ultimovacs’ lead product is UV1, a peptide-based vaccine that creates a specific T cell response to the universal cancer antigen telomerase. Telomerase is expressed in cancer cells in 85-90% of all types of cancer. The UV1 cancer vaccine may therefore potentially be effective in patients with most types of cancer.
Clinical development of UV1
Ultimovacs has conducted three different clinical trials of its cancer vaccine UV1 at the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital. The trials have shown that the vaccine is safe to use and have also shown positive signs of clinical benefit in all the trials. Prostate cancer, lung cancer and melanoma patients have participated in these trials. Ultimovacs is also conducting a further clinical trial in the USA for patients with melanoma, where the UV1 cancer vaccine is being combined with pembrolizumab, another immunotherapy.
These trials form the basis for the start of a major randomised trial on melanoma in which UV1 will be tested in combination with two other immunotherapy medications, ipilimumab and nivolumab. More than 150 patients will participate in this clinical trial, which is set to be conducted at 25 to 30 hospitals in the USA, Europe and possibly Australia. Start-up is scheduled for the first quarter 2020 and the trial is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.