Pharma Focus Asia

Transgene and BioInvent Extend their Collaboration to Develop Multifunctional Oncolytic Viruses for the Treatment of Solid Tumors

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Transgene, a biotech company that designs and develops virus-based immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumors and BioInvent International AB (OMXS: BINV), a biotech company focused on the discovery and development of novel immuno-regulatory antibodies to treat cancer, announce the extension of their collaboration to co-develop multi-functional oncolytic viruses (OV) encoding for undisclosed antibodies sequences capable of treating a broad range of solid tumors.

Under the terms of the extension agreement, Transgene will contribute its industry-leading OV design and engineering expertise, some non-antibody transgenes, as well as its proprietary engineered vaccinia virus (TK-, RR-) backbone, which forms the basis of its Invir.IOTM platform. BioInvent will provide its cancer biology and antibody expertise to the collaboration as well as one or more antibodies sequences, generated through its proprietary n-CoDeR®/F.I.R.S.T.TM platforms. Certain sequences for an undisclosed target will be selected for encoding within Transgene’s Invir.IOTM backbone to create a multi-functional OV.

In November 2018, Transgene and BioInvent presented positive data from their initial collaboration at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). These initial data covered the collaboration’s work on an anti-CTLA-4 antibody-armed oncolytic vaccinia virus, based on Transgene’s proprietary vaccinia virus (TK-, RR-) backbone. This enhanced oncolytic vaccinia virus demonstrated its ability to ensure the expression of BioInvent’s anti-CTLA-4 antibody in the tumor with low systemic exposure. It also showed improved efficacy and a better safety profile when compared to the combination of the antibody and the non-armed corresponding oncolytic virus given individually in pre-clinical models.

Consistent with the initial collaboration, research and development costs as well as revenues and royalties from the multifunctional OVs generated as a result of the new collaboration will be shared 50:50.

Encoding BioInvent’s antibodies sequences in Transgene’s proprietary Invir.IOTM platform, for a direct expression into the tumor, promises to optimize the efficacy and tolerability of these antibodies. Both Transgene and BioInvent believe that these novel multifunctional OVs could be significantly more effective than co-administering an OV and an antibody together.

Philippe Archinard, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Transgene, said: “We are pleased to extend the scope of our highly productive collaboration with BioInvent. We believe that the next generation of multi-functional oncolytic viruses expressing BioInvent’s highly targeted immune modulators directly in the tumor micro-environment will deliver much improved overall survival outcomes in patients with solid tumors. This agreement further expands Transgene’s broad portfolio of oncolytics virus in development, the first of which is expected to enter the clinic in 2020.”

Commenting on the agreement, Martin Welschof, CEO of BioInvent, said: “The extension of our collaboration with Transgene opens up further opportunities for both companies to combine their expertise and knowledge to develop antibody oncolytic virus combinations capable of treating a broad range of solid tumors. By leveraging BioInvent’s unique and proprietary n-CoDeR®/F.I.R.S.T.TM platforms, we will be able to develop a number of novel first-in-class antibodies that could be delivered directly into the tumor via Transgene’s vaccinia viral backbone, potentially enhancing their efficacy and improving their side effect profile.”

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