EVOQ Therapeutics

helping patients with cancer

Cancer affects millions of people in the United States and is among the leading causes of death worldwide. Current treatment options generally work by augmenting pre-existing anti-tumor immunity, so they only benefit a subset of patients. And current cancer vaccines are ineffective, as they fail to generate adequate immunity against tumor cells.

University of Michigan team Anna Schwendeman, Ph.D., and James Moon, Ph.D., are targeting antigen delivery as an alternative, complementary approach to immunotherapy. By using a novel synthetic high-density lipoprotein (sHDL) nanodisc mixed with antigen peptides and adjuvants, they produced a potent cancer vaccine that is better able to stimulate the immune system than traditional vaccine approaches.

The team’s data has shown that the sHDL nanodiscs enhanced delivery of cancer antigens to draining lymph nodes by 28 fold (compared with the soluble vaccine group) and stimulated strong anti-tumor T-cell immunity. Importantly, the nanodiscs, in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors, eliminated tumors in multiple mouse xenograph models.

Significant Need

Limitations of current cancer vaccines and immunotherapy options leave a large number of patients without effective treatment.

Compelling Science

Nano-disc based vaccine technology targets antigen delivery to more strongly stimulate the immune system and elicit anti-tumor immunity.

Competitive Advantage

Novel vaccine delivery strategy effectively transports a potent vaccine that improves patients’ response rates and establishes long-term immunity against relapse, while current treatments and vaccines have been unsuccessful.

Overall Commercialization

  • Intellectual Property: Multiple patents filed.
  • Commercialization Strategy: Start-up company formed. Finalizing license agreement with U-M.
  • Engage Investors: Plan to move forward with Investigational New Drug application.
  • Product Launch Strategy: To be determined by EVOQ Therapeutics LLC.


  • Complete preparation and in vitro optimization of nanodiscs and control vaccine nanoparticles
  • Evaluate pharma company interest in nanodisc vaccine technology
  • Complete optimization of nanodisc composition and compare nanodisc vaccination against other nanoparticle vaccine delivery vehicles
  • Finalize license agreement between EVOQ and U-M
  • Complete in vivo comparison studies and initiate therapeutic studies
  • Sign MTA(s) with pharma company(ies) to evaluate utility of nanodiscs for cancer vaccination
  • Complete the evaluation of nanodiscs vaccination combined with immune checkpoint blockade
  • Submit SBIR grant application
May 21, 2021