TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa-based company is moving forward with human clinical trials of a cancer vaccine. 

  • Morphogenesis, Inc. working on cancer treatment
  • Phase one of cancer clinical trials complete
  • 160 patients to be involved in phase 2 of trials

Morphogenesis, Inc., which has been working on the research for nearly 20 years, has already completed phase one of its clinical trial on the treatment which the company says will be directly inserted into cancerous tumors through several methods. 

"It actually triggers the early response and immune response to cancer and allows the immune response to develop," said Michael Lawman, president of Morphogenesis.  

The drug is now being used for skin cancers like melanoma. If successful, it could be applied toward other types of the deadly disease. 

"We are halfway through our first and human study that's for cutaneous melanoma," said Pat Lawman, CEO of Morphogenesis, who founded the company with her husband, Michael. "That's our stage three, stage four patients."

The company has already secured more that $20 million in funding to move forward with these clinical trials.  At least 160 patients will be involved in phase two of the trials that is set to start next year.

The Lawmans say Tampa is the perfect location for Morphogenesis because of it's proximity to Moffitt Cancer Center, which is where some of the clinical trials are being conducted.  Several employees came from Florida colleges and universities including University of Florida, University of South Florida, and Hillsborough Community College. 

"We feel like we're keeping the talent here but we also started importing talent as our needs continue to escalate," Pat said.