Selvax Cancer Immunotherapy | About Selvax
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About Selvax

New Cancer Treatment Using The Immune System

Selvax’s goal is to develop a safe, effective, immunological-based treatment for a range of hard to treat solid tumours.


During the past six years, a research team at Curtin University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences led by immunologist Professor Delia Nelson has achieved a major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer by harnessing and amplifying the body’s anti-tumour immune response (self vaccine cancer immunotherapy or Selvax).


The Selvax team combined two immunological agents, both of which are approved for use in humans, and has shown that when the two agents are administered directly into the tumour site they achieved complete regression of large tumours (that were resistant to chemotherapy and to each agent used alone) without toxicity.


The clearance rates achieved in small animal trials ranged from 90%+ for colorectal cancer to 30% for lung and renal cancers. To date Selvax’s combination immunotherapy has been successfully tested in animals for eight different solid tumours. In the animals successfully treated the tumours were cleared and did not recur for the life of the animal. The trials also demonstrated that treating a tumour in one location in the animal resulted in the destruction of a second tumour in another part of the body. The potential medical significance of this finding is considerable, given the tendency of many solid tumours to metastasise.


The Selvax approach differs from traditional chemotherapy and radiological treatments in that its goal is to stimulate the patient’s own immune system to kill the cancer. The treatment effectively acts as a vaccine against recurrence of the cancer. It is also unique in that the delivery of the two immunological agents is made directly into the tumour and not systemically, thereby minimising the toxic side effects which had previously been an issue for other cancer immunotherapies (or indeed traditional chemotherapy).


Selvax has co-developed and tested a liposome based intravenous delivery system for its immunotherapy in collaboration with the head of a research group at the Australian National University.


The Selvax technology is wholly owned by Selvax Pty Ltd and the company itself is jointly owned by Curtin University and a group of Australian private investors.

Selvax Immunotherapy


Graph shows tumour regression in mice treated with Selvax’s combination IL-2/anti-CD40 antibody immunotherapy compared to single therapies and controls (no treatment).

Global Cancer Immunotherapy Market

Cancer immunotherapy is recognised by oncologists and patients as an exciting new treatment with curative potential that is rapidly overtaking traditional chemotherapy as the primary treatment option. Cancer immunotherapy was selected as Science’s Breakthrough of the Year in 2013.

  • Global cancer immunotherapy market is expected to reach US$119.39 billion by 2021 with an annual growth rate of 14.0% from 2016 to 2021.
  • Market growth is driven by increasing cancer incidence due to an ageing population and rising healthcare expenditure.
  • Cancer immunotherapies now represent more than 50% of total cancer therapeutics market.
  • Estimated to grow to approx. US$80 billion in 2020.


Ref: GLOBAL & USA CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY MARKET ANALYSIS TO 2020 – Kelly Scientific Publications (July 2016).

Selvax Progress

  • Demonstrated the effectiveness of the Selvax immunotherapy in curing eight hard to treat cancers (lung, renal, pancreatic, mesothelioma, bone cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and colorectal cancer) in repeated studies in small animals.
  • Co-developed and tested a liposome-based intravenous delivery system for the Selvax treatment in collaboration with the head of a research group at the Australian National University.
  • Achieved positive results in treating dogs with cancer in collaboration with Perth Veterinary Specialists, which runs the only specialist oncology clinic in Western Australia.
  • Filed for patent protection for the novel monoclonal antibody that was developed for use in the dog trial, which forms the basis of a possible new animal health product range.
  • Manufactured and commenced testing of a unique humanized monoclonal antibody , which is a potential candidate to use in planned human clinical trials.
  • Obtained in principal agreement with a major European oncology institute to conduct the first human testing of the Selvax therapy in cancer patients.
  • Obtained a positive freedom to operate opinion in respect of Selvax’s humanised anti CD40 agonist antibody.
  • Obtained registration of Selvax for R&D cash rebates in Australia.

Commercialisation Strategies


  • Licence or sell dual therapy technology (IL2 + anti-CD40 agonist) to large pharmaco or cancer immunology company.
  • Licence or sell canine cancer technology to an international animal health group (Australian and Japanese potential industry partners identified).
  • Selvax does not intend to pursue high cost clinical development in its own right, but will pursue early stage licensing or partnering as its preferred commercialisation strategy.

Selvax and The Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute

Curtin University in Western Australia is Selvax’s principal research partner and undertakes contract research on Selvax’s behalf. Curtin is the largest university in West Australia and is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.


The Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) is Western Australia’s premier institute specialising in the chronic diseases of ageing, including diabetes, dementia and cancer. CHIRI is located on Curtin University’s Bentley campus and operates within a $35 million facility that provides more than 150 scientists and research students with laboratory space and access to state-of-the-art technology platforms for advanced gene, protein and cell analysis.



Other Selvax Partners

Perth Veterinary Specialists

Perth Veterinary Specialists is a comprehensively equipped specialist veterinary oncology clinic in Western Australia. PVS has collaborated with Selvax to conduct initial testing of Selvax’s immunotherapy in dogs with naturally occurring sarcomas.


National Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia
The institute is one of the oldest specialist cancer institutes in Europe and the largest centre in S.E. Europe. It treats over 25,000 cancer patients per year. It is a possible location for initial human clinical study of Selvax’s immunotherapy treatment.


Australian National University
Undertaking formulation work for liposome delivery vehicle with the goal of achieving effective IV delivery of the Selvax immunotherapy.

Current Activities

  • Screening candidate humanised anti-CD40 agonist antibodies sourced through collaboration with US based biologics group.
  • Replicating previous successful small animal trials for a broader range of cancers, and generating samples of immune cells from cured animals for potential antibody screening.
  • Undertaking further animal studies to compare the efficacy of Selvax’s immunotherapy against existing FDA approved check point inhibitors
  • Continuing testing of Selvax immunotherapy in dogs with naturally occurring cancers .
  • Testing effectiveness of liposome based delivery system of the Selvax combination therapy
  • Continuing preparations for first human testing of Selvax therapy at either an Australian or European clinical trial site (ongoing).