BioInvent International and Transgene have entered a collaboration to co-develop next generation oncolytic virus (OV) candidates encoding an anti-CTLA-4 antibody sequence – potentially with additional transgenes – capable of treating multiple solid tumors.
Under the terms of the agreement Transgene will contribute both its OV design and engineering expertise as well as its engineered Vaccinia virus, derived from its Invir.IOTM platform. These oncolytic viruses are designed to directly and selectively destroy cancer cells by the intracellular replication of the virus in the cancer cell (oncolysis). Oncolysis is important as it induces an immune response against tumors (immunogenic lysis). In addition, the replication of the virus allows the expression of the genes carried by the oncolytic viral genome including therapeutic “weapons” that have been specifically designed to attack the tumor.
The collaboration’s research and development costs, as well as the revenues and royalties from candidates generated by the collaboration, will be shared 50:50.
BioInvent will provide its cancer biology and antibody expertise to the collaboration as well as anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody coding sequences, generated through its proprietary n-CoDeR/FIRST platforms, which will be encoded from in Transgene’s Invir.IOTM viral vectors. The local expression of such therapeutic payloads in the cancer cell is expected to augment the anti-cancer effects of viral oncolysis, by efficiently modulating the tumor micro-environment and increasing the immunogenicity of the tumor.
“We are very pleased to announce this first collaboration with Transgene which will allow us to leverage our cancer antibody biology and immuno-oncology expertise. We are looking forward to working with Transgene to generate the next generation OVs capable of expressing immune modulatory antibodies in the tumor, thus enhancing their efficacy and improving their safety profile. We are confident that such next generation oncolytic viruses have the potential to significantly improve treatment of solid tumors,” said Michael Oredsson, CEO of BioInvent.
Encoding BioInvent’s anti-CTLA-4 antibody sequence in Transgene’s latest improved Vaccinia virus, promises to optimize the efficacy of this potent checkpoint inhibitor, while reducing the side effects seen when it is given systemically. There is also the potential for this novel OV product to be significantly more effective than the combination of these single agents. Transgene has generated preclinical proof-of-concept data showing that an oncolytic vaccinia virus encoded with a checkpoint inhibitor demonstrated better overall survival than the corresponding combination as separate single agents.
“We look forward to starting this first, exciting collaboration with BioInvent. We believe that the next generation of multi-functional OVs derived from our Invir.IOTM platform, armed with highly targeted immune modulators such as those engineered by BioInvent, could provide patients with better clinical outcomes. Based on the compelling preclinical data we have generated, we expect the resulting OVs to deliver a significant improvement in overall survival, with an enhanced safety profile when compared to administering an OV and checkpoint inhibitor separately,” says Philippe Archinard, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Transgene.