Transgene, a French company that designs and develops viral-based immunotherapies, and BioInvent International, a Swedish research-based pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel and first-in-class immuno-regulatory antibodies to treat cancer, 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 proprietary 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).
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 immunocompetency of the tumor.
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.
Philippe Archinard, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Transgene, said: “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, will 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.”