Type of information: Development agreement
Compound: oncolytic virus therapy platform and VSV-GP (Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) glycoprotein (GP)
Company: Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany) ViraTherapeutics (Austria)
Therapeutic area: Cancer - Oncology
Type agreement: development
- oncolytic virus. Oncolytic virus therapy is a cancer treatment approach that uses a virus that infects and breaks down cancer cells. Tumor antigens that are normally hidden from the immune system inside the cells are released, triggering an immune response to fight the tumor. VSV-GP has a shorter replication time than other oncolytic virus platforms currently under development. This oncolytic virus does not integrate in the DNA and has been modified to avoid neural inflammation associated with wild type viruses. In VSV-GP the glycoprotein of the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus has been replaced by the glycoprotein of the Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV) to conceal the virus from the immune system. In preclinical models it did not induce virus neutralizing antibodies, potentially enabling repeated administration.
- • On September 28, 2016, ViraTherapeutics and Boehringer Ingelheim announced a long term collaboration to jointly develop a next generation oncolytic virus therapy platform and to investigate ViraTherapeutic's lead candidate VSV-GP (Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) glycoprotein (GP)) alone and in combination with other therapies.
- ViraTherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of oncolytic virus therapies, has developed its novel technology with joint support from its lead investors EMBL Ventures and Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) and will now be responsible for preclinical and clinical testing of VSV-GP in Phase I trials. Under the terms of the collaboration, Boehringer Ingelheim receives the right to acquire ViraTherapeutics after conclusion of Phase I clinical development.
- ViraTherapeutics was founded in 2013 as a spin-out of the Medical University of Innsbruck by Prof. Dr. Dorothee von Laer, head of the Virology Division at the university. ViraT develops oncolytic cancer vaccines based on a chimeric virus derived from the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV). 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 FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) through several programs. The company currently has 14 employees.
- • On March 5, 2018 ,ViraTherapeutics 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.