British Biotech Gets $15M as its Armed Oncolytic Virus Enters the Clinic

PsiOxus will receive a generous milestone payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which licenses the biotech’s oncolytic virus technology.

PsiOxus hopes to become the world’s leading immuno-oncolytic company, systemically administering “gene therapy for tumors.” Today, the biotech has announced that its Clinical Trial Application for NG-348 for the treatment of solid tumors, has been approved. Under the terms of a deal signed back in December 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay PsiOxus $15M (€13M) in milestones, which could rise to $936M (€795M) if all goes well with the product’s development and commercialization.

PsiOxus’ viruses can be enhanced by “arming” them with new genes that produce antibodies, cytokines, immunomodulatory proteins, or nucleotide-based weapons to help them to kill cancer cells. John Beadle, CEO of PsiOxus, let us in on what else is different about his company’s viruses: “Essentially, the virus has lost a number of genes that are necessary to replicate within normal cells but not in the tumor cells.”

Elsewhere, Transgene has put on somewhat of a comeback, with the company now starting a Phase I/IIa trial to test its ‘next generation’ oncolytic virus against glioblastoma. German biotech Oryx has already tested its ParvOryx virus against glioblastoma, and will also investigate it as part of a combination therapy.

Image – nobeatsofierce /

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