NEW YORK, and OSLO, NORWAY, November 18, 2015—Ludwig Cancer Research and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) announced today an agreement with the biotechnology company Targovax to evaluate its experimental virotherapy, ONCOS-102, in early phase clinical trials testing the virotherapy in combination with other, potentially synergistic immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors.
“We believe oncolytic virotherapy—in which engineered viruses are deployed against cancer cells—holds considerable promise, especially for boosting the efficacy and expanding the applicability of compatible immunotherapies,” said Jonathan Skipper, executive director of technology development at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. “This kind of clinical research is precisely what our collaboration with CRI is all about, and certainly a key component of our mission to apply our life-changing science as quickly as possible to cancer patients everywhere.”
ONCOS-102 is an engineered human serotype 5 adenovirus optimized to induce systemic anti-tumor T cell response in cancer patients. A gene encoding granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), which was originally discovered by Ludwig researchers in Melbourne, is inserted into the virus genome and expressed as the virus replicates in tumor cells.
“Our partnership with Targovax and Ludwig is an important step forward in efforts to discover and develop optimally effective immunotherapy treatment regimens,” said Adam Kolom, managing director of CRI’s Clinical Accelerator and venture fund that will support this trial. “This strategic partnership is the latest in a series of CRI-Ludwig collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to test novel combination treatments, and will enable us to explore an innovative new way to create a more favorable tumor microenvironment for an immune attack on cancer.”
“We are delighted about this partnership and what may come out of it. Targovax R&D will have access to the well-known expertise and network of CRI and Ludwig Cancer Research, which provides us with new opportunities for combinatorial research. The focus will be on mechanistic synergies with clinical impact combining ONCOS-102 with other immune therapies to the potential benefit of patient care in the future,” says Magnus Jaderberg, chief medical officer at Targovax.
Targovax is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing targeted immunotherapy treatments for cancer patients. Targovax has a broad and diversified immune therapy portfolio and aim to become a leader in its area. The company is currently developing two complementary and highly targeted approaches in immuno-oncology:
Oncos 102 is a virus-based immunotherapy platform based on engineered oncolytic viruses armed with potent immune-stimulating transgenes targeting solid tumors. This treatment may reinstate the immune system’s capacity to recognize and attack cancer cells.
TG01 is a peptide-based immunotherapy platform targeting the difficult to treat RAS mutations found in more than 85% of pancreatic cancers and 20-30% of all cancers. Targovax works towards demonstrating that TG01 will prolong time to cancer progression, increase survival and improve safety and tolerability.
The product candidates will be developed in combination with multiple treatments in several cancer indications, including checkpoint inhibitors. Targovax also has a number of other cancer immune therapy candidates in the early stage of development. For more information visit our website at www.targovax.com.
About Ludwig Cancer Research
Ludwig Cancer Research is an international collaborative network of acclaimed scientists that has pioneered cancer research and landmark discovery for more than 40 years. Ludwig combines basic science with the ability to translate its discoveries and conduct clinical trials to accelerate the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. Since 1971, Ludwig has invested nearly $2.7 billion in life-changing science through the not-for-profit Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the six U.S.-based Ludwig Centers. To learn more, visit www.ludwigcancerresearch.org.