Sensei has built a pioneering vaccine platform named ImmunoPhage™, dedicated to training the immune system to react to specific antigens and deliver a strong, coordinated immune response. We engineer non-infectious lambda bacteriophage viruses to display target antigens on the capsid surface. This approach simulates the equivalent of a natural viral infection, resulting in strong immune responses via innate immune activation and downstream adaptive immunity (e.g. B cells, antibodies, and T cells).
ImmunoPhage™ possesses a number of key features that differentiates itself from other platforms in the fields of infectious disease and oncology vaccine development.
Personalized vaccine cocktails with off-the-shelf Immunophage™phage “ingredients”
The high speed and low cost-of-goods of Sensei’s Immunophage™ platform enable our unique approach to personalized immune-therapy. Most cancers overexpress a variety of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), that are shared by many patients across a variety of tumor types. Sensei is developing a library of pre-made, clinical-grade bacteriophage vaccines, covering this shared cancer-antigen landscape. We envision a future clinical paradigm, where a tumor is biopsied, diagnosed and analyzed for expression of hundreds of potential TAAs. Based on that profile, Sensei Biotherapeutics mixes an Immunophage™ cocktail, customized to the patient, to be delivered within weeks of diagnosis. We believe that these advantages, along with the long-term stability of ImmunoPhage, make personalized ImmunoPhage cocktails a commercially viable solution to the current challenges facing fully personalized patient-specific immunotherapy.
ImmunoPhage™, Powered by Nanobodies
Sensei’s next generation of vaccines are supercharged by features that enable direct targeting to – and selective activation of – “professional” antigen presenting cells (APCs) and modulation of the tumor microenvironment. The key features are comprised of alpaca-derived nanobodies, which have several superior properties compared to standard full-length human antibodies. In acquiring Alvaxa Biosciences, Sensei has direct access to expertise in nanobody generation, screening and optimization to facilitate the generation of supercharged phage-based vaccines and standalone nanobody-based immunotherapy assets.
Nanobodies are small molecular weight antigen-binding domains (VHHs) with the potential for very high-affinity binding, and demonstrate robust “drug-like” characteristics such as stability, manufacturability, and high sequence homology to human IgGs that may obviate need for humanization. The nanobody capabilities acquired from Alvaxa Biosciences have already been leveraged against 6 key immuno-modulatory targets to kickstart our pipeline of supercharged phage-based vaccines. Standalone nanobody programs are also in development against ASPH Domain 3.