Sensei Biotherapeutics is developing a pipeline of medicines that work by “awakening” the immune system to defend and defeat cancer and infectious diseases. Sensei’s most advanced program is SNS-301, a vaccine that targets Aspartyl beta Hydroxylase (ASPH) in Phase 2 studies of advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN). ASPH is overexpressed in many types of cancer, including both hematologic and solid tumors.


SNS-301 is a first-in-class ImmunoPhage™ that has successfully completed a Phase 1 clinical study. Early data with SNS-301 as a monotherapy and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors demonstrate a favorable safety profile, improvements in disease biomarkers and a robust, dose-dependent antigen-specific CD8+ T cell and B-cell response. Sensei Bio is currently enrolling a Phase 2 trial of SNS-301 in combination with Keytruda™ (pembrolizumab) in head and neck cancer patients who did not achieve tumor reductions on anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy alone (NCT04034225).

Sensei Bio has an active clinical collaboration with AstraZeneca to evaluate the combination of SNS-301 and IMFINZI® (durvalumab) in patients with the following cancers:

  • Locally-advanced head and neck cancer in the neoadjuvant setting in conjunction with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (i.e. prior to surgical resection).
  • ASPH+ patients with various locally-advanced unresectable or metastatic/recurrent solid tumors


SNS-401 is an ImmunoPhage™ vaccine cocktail against Merkel Cell Carcinoma, an aggressive type of skin cancer, driven by the Merkel Cell Carcinoma Polyoma Virus, in collaboration with investigators at the University of Washington. The University of Washington is one of the premier cancer centers worldwide for the research and treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Researchers there have mapped the B- and T-cell epitopes of the Merkel Cell Polyoma Virus


Sensei is developing an antibody-based therapeutic targeting V-domain Ig suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA), currently in lead identification, in conjunction with Adimab. VISTA is a novel immune checkpoint that is expressed primarily in myeloid cells and is therefore highly complementary to the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway. Preclinical studies have shown that VISTA is implicated in PD-1/PD-L1 resistance and that therapeutic intervention is effective as a monotherapy and synergistic with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition in vivo.

About Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers include cancers in the larynx, throat, lips, mouth, nose, and salivary glands and accounts for about 4% of all cancers in the US1 and has an annual incidence of approximately 133,000 cases annually. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of head and neck cancers1. Although five-year overall survival (OS) is good for patients diagnosed with localized (83.7%) or locoregionally advanced (64.2%) squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), the cancer often recurs distantly. Recurrent or de novo metastatic SCCHN is virtually incurable and the five-year survival is 38.5%2. Extending patients’ survival is, therefore, an important treatment goal.

1 Head and Neck Cancers, NCI, 2017
2 Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck, Decision Resources Disease Landscape and Forecast 2018