PsiOxus Therapeutics has closed a Series C financing round of €34.7M (£25 million) to progress its lead clinical candidate, enadenotucirev, and a pipeline of follow-on oncolytic programmes. Neil Woodford’s fund, GlaxoSmithKline’s VC unit and Imperial Innovations from Imperial College of London, amongst others, are behind the financing.
PsiOxus’ lead product, enadenotucirev, is an oncolytic virus that, in Phase I, has shown a selective infection in cancer cells when administered by intravenous infusion. The ability to deliver enadenotucirev systemically via intravenous infusion represents a significant advantage over the other oncolytic therapies currently in development that require intratumoural delivery. Furthermore, these enadenotucirev Phase I clinical trials have shown that the selective infection of tumour cells by the drug leads to the infiltration of immune cells (T-cells) into colorectal tumours.
PsiOxus will now use the new funding to conduct a Phase I clinical study combining enadenotucirev and an immune-checkpoint inhibitor in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. With this study, PsiOxus aims to demonstrate that the immune process triggered by enadenotucirev infection of tumour cells, will enable the activity of checkpoint inhibitors in this otherwise immune modulator resistant indication.
Looking to the future, the company’s platform AbEnAd will be used to ‘arm’ the enadenotucirev virus with the genetic instructions required to force cancer cells into producing therapeutic antibodies, opening up an exciting form of anti-cancer gene therapy whereby the metastatic tumour is forced into acting as an anti-cancer “drug factory.”
To date, PsiOxus has developed AbEnAd viruses capable of producing a wide range of functioning therapeutic antibodies including anti-PDL1 and anti-CTLA4 antibodies, in preclinical studies. However, besides antibodies of different specificities, the arming platform can also be used to deliver a broad variety of biological agents including proteins, peptides, and RNAi. Up to three different therapeutic molecules can be incorporated in each virus product in order to produce combination therapies in a single dose form. PsiOxus will now use some of the Series C funding to push a preferred, and as yet undisclosed, internal candidate whilst continuing to seek partnerships for other applications.
The interest of these great investors such as Imperial Innovations (from Imperial Colllege of London and one of the most important venture capitals in UK), SROne (investment arm of GlaxoSmithKline), or Neil Woodford’s fund, confirms the excellent job that PsiOxus is doing!