Dartmouth-based drug discovery company IMV has announced that its lead compound, known as maveropepimut-S, will be trialed in patients with hormone receptor positive/HER2-negative breast cancer.

In a statement, the company said these tumors represent an unmet clinical need with relatively poor responses to preliminary hormonal treatment. The investigator-initiated clinical study will be conducted at the Providence Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon, and is expected to begin this summer.

“We are excited to launch the next clinical proof of concept study of maveropepimut-S, which has already demonstrated positive clinical benefit in other cancer indications,” said IMV CEO Frederic Ors in a statement.

“Through targeted T-cell therapy, we believe maveropepimut-S presents a compelling option for the treatment of breast cancer. Our lead compound has demonstrated [it can] enhance the innate tumor-fighting response which has resulted in efficacy in solid and liquid tumors without significant toxicity.”

With its shares listed on the TSX and the Nasdaq, IMV shares on Monday rose 4 percent to $3.38, giving the company a total value of about $221 million. The company last year raised $25 million by selling shares to investors.

IMV is currently assessing maveropepimut-S in advanced ovarian cancer, and as a combination therapy in multiple clinical studies with Merck’s drug Keytruda. The company is also developing a vaccine to fight against COVID-19.

Across the three-arm Phase 1B breast cancer study, IMV’s lead compound will be evaluated in 18 subjects.

“Understanding how HR+HER2- breast cancer responds to immunotherapy, particularly prior to surgery, remains an active area of investigation across the world,” said Sasha E. Stanton, Assistant Member, Cancer Immunoprevention Lab at Providence.