ViraTherapeutics starts second oncolytic virus development program with Boehringer Ingelheim

  • Long-term collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim to be expanded with a VSV
  • platform-based second oncolytic virus development candidate
  • Boehringer Ingelheim will cover all research and development costs for the new virus development candidate
  • Joint development of ViraTherapeutics’ lead candidate VSV-GP is continuing according to plan

Innsbruck, Austria, March 5, 2018 – ViraTherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of oncolytic virus therapies, today announced the expansion of its current collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim, with a second oncolytic virus program. The new development program is an oncolytic virus, stemming from ViraTherapeutics’ technology platform. The Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) will be armed with an additional immunotherapeutic component from Boehringer Ingelheim. Boehringer Ingelheim has agreed to cover all research and development costs for the program. Further financial details were not disclosed.
“We are delighted by the advances made in our partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim. Based on the convincing data obtained with our first development program so far, Boehringer Ingelheim has committed to start and fund already now a second oncolytic virus development program based on our VSV platform,” commented Dr. Heinz Schwer, CEO of ViraTherapeutics. “We see very encouraging pre-clinical results with our oncolytic viruses, which show the potential as mono-therapies, but also in combination with other immune-oncology drugs.” “We have made great progress in our collaboration with ViraTherapeutics, and are excited about the results generated so far,” added Jonathon Sedgwick, PhD, Global Head Cancer Immunology and Immune Modulation at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Oncolytic viruses have the potential to become a powerful weapon in our fight against cancer through their combined actions of direct tumor killing coupled with their ability to stimulate the immune system to attack tumors. We expect that they will become an important addition to our oncology pipeline in the future.”
The development of this new drug candidate is part of ViraTherapeutics’ collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim. In September 2016, ViraTherapeutics and Boehringer Ingelheim signed a long-term collaboration agreement to jointly develop a next generation oncolytic virus therapy platform and to investigate ViraTherapeutics’ lead candidate VSV-GP (Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) glycoprotein (GP)) alone and in combination with other therapies. ViraTherapeutics is responsible for preclinical and clinical testing of VSV-GP in Phase I trials. Under the terms of the collaboration, Boehringer Ingelheim has the right to acquire ViraTherapeutics until the end of Phase I clinical development. Oncolytic virus therapy is a cancer treatment approach, which uses a virus that infects and breaks down cancer cells. Tumor antigens and cytokines are released, triggering a systemic anti-tumor immune response. The new development candidate is a VSV-based oncolytic virus that is ‘armed’ with an additional immunotherapeutic component. When the virus infects tumor cells, an additional inserted gene is expressed leading to production of an immune-stimulating agent. This leads to an enhanced immune response that works together with the direct anti-tumor effect of the virus leading to improved tumor cell killing.

About ViraTherapeutics GmbH

Austrian based ViraTherapeutics GmbH (ViraT) is a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing promising innovative virus-based immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer. ViraT was founded in 2013 as a spin-out of the Medical University of Innsbruck by Prof. Dr. Dorothee von Laer, head of the Division of Virology at the university. ViraT develops oncolytic cancer vaccines based on a chimeric virus derived from the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV), so called VSV-GP.
Initially, ViraT received Pre-Seed financing funds from CAST (Center for Academic Spin-offs Tyrol), Tyrol, and from the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws the Austrian Government Promotional Bank). ViraT is funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), EMBL Ventures and the Empl foundation, as well as by the aws through its Venture-Capital-Initiative and Seedfinancing program and by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) through several programs.
The company currently has 19 employees. ViraT won the international life science business plan competition Best of Biotech 2012 and was awarded the second prize in the Science4Life venture cup 2013. ViraT has a collaboration with the Medical University of Innsbruck, which includes a team of scientists from the laboratory of Prof. von Laer and scientists of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Viral Immunotherapy of Cancer at the university headed by Dr. Guido Wollmann.

PDF-Download ViraTherapeutics starts second oncolytic virus development program with Boehringer Ingelheim (eng)
PDF-Download ViraTherapeutics startet zweites Entwicklungsprogramm für onkolytisches Virus mit Boehringer Ingelheim (de)

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