Background: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer Program (PREVENT) is a peer-reviewed R&D pipeline with the core emphasis on preclinical development and clinical translation of novel cancer preventive interventions. One of the latest PREVENT-supported projects include cGMP production and IND enabling studies of a broad spectrum experimental human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine- HPV16 RG1-VLP. This monovalent chimeric virus-like particle (VLP) displays 360 copies of the highly conserved epitope RG1 (aa 17-36 of minor capsid protein HPV16 L2) in the DE loop of HPV16L1 VLP backbone, and is capable of eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies that target several clinically relevant HPV genotypes. RG-1 induced cross-neutralizing titers are typically lower than anti-L1 antibodies generated by currently licensed HPV vaccines. Hence, durability of protection has been cited as a cause of concern. Here, using engineering-run cGMP grade HPV16-RG1VLPs formulated with alhdyrogel®, the durability of protection 6 month post-vaccination of HPV16 RG1-VLPs against Gardasil-9®, a licensed HPV vaccine was evaluated using an established papillomavirus disease model.

Methods: New Zealand white rabbits (n=15 per treatment group) were administered three intra-muscular vaccinations of HPV16-RG1 (80 µg), human doses of Gardasil-9®, or no vaccine (adjuvant only). Following vaccination, in vivo protection was assessed against 8 high-risk oncogenic HPVs utilizing methods from an established cottontail rabbit papillomavirus (CRPV) disease model. Within each treatment group, 5 rabbits were challenged two weeks post-final vaccination (at peak serum ELISA titer), while another 5 were challenged six months post-final vaccination to assess durability of protection. The remainder 5 rabbits will be challenged one year post final vaccination.

Results: During the peak-titer period, rabbits vaccinated with monovalent HPV16-RG1VLP were protected from disease development, which was comparable to the protection afforded by Gardasil-9®. Six months after final vaccination, despite lower serum titers, HPV16-RG1VLP immunized rabbits were still protected from disease development with vaccine efficacy comparable to that of Gardasil-9®. And, in some instances, HPV16-RG1VLP vaccine demonstrated a superior cross-protection.

Conclusions: Even as a monovalent formulation, HPV16 RG1 VLP vaccination was able to provide comparable protection against a number of high-risk oncogenic HPV types, including types not covered by Gardasil-9®, even after six months post-vaccination. As a monovalent VLP, HPV16 RG1 VLP holds promise as a broad-spectrum preventative vaccine candidate that could potentially provide broader protection at lower production costs. Studies evaluating protection one-year-post vaccination is currently in progress.

Citation Format: Jiafen Hu, Karla Balogh, Ken Matsui, Huimin Tan, Pola Olczak, George Buchman, Brian Howard, Jonathan White, Michelle Kennedy, Shizuko Sei, Elizabeth Glaze, Sarah Brendle, Christina Schellenbacher, Reinhard Kirnbauer, Richard Roden, Robert Shoemaker, Neil Christensen, Joshua Weiyuan Wang. A cGMP-grade chimeric papillomavirus candidate vaccine (HPV16 RG1-VLP) confers long term cross-protection compared to a nonavalent hpv vaccine in a pre-clinical papillomavirus animal model [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2019; 2019 Mar 29-Apr 3; Atlanta, GA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2019;79(13 Suppl):Abstract nr LB-200.