SINGAPORE – April 25, 2017 – Tessa Therapeutics, an immunotherapy company dedicated to revolutionizing the treatment of cancer, and Vyriad, an oncolytic virotherapy company using engineered viruses to destroy tumors and boost the antitumor immune response, today announced a collaboration that will enable Tessa and Vyriad to investigate T cell and oncolytic virus combination therapies. The combination of these two therapies is highly synergistic and has the potential to target a wide range of solid tumors with increased efficacy.
Tessa and Vyriad have signed a collaboration agreement to combine Tessa’s HPV-specific T cells with Vyriad’s vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) for the treatment of HPV-associated cancers such as cervical as well as head and neck cancers. Tessa is currently employing its HPV-specific T Cell technology in an FDA Phase I trial targeting these cancers, and aims to commence Phase II trials in 2017/2018. Vyriad is currently testing its oncolytic VSV technology in FDA Phase I trials. Additionally, Vyriad plans to clinically test a virus that has been engineered to drive proliferation of HPV-specific T cells in early 2018.
Whilst oncolytic viruses are known for their ability to specifically infect and destroy tumors, Vyriad’s oncolytic viruses have been engineered to express antigens to improve the immune response against the tumor. This increased antigen expression is expected to significantly enhance the efficacy of Tessa’s VSTs by improving their ability to recognize, target, and destroy cancer cells, thus making the combination of both treatments highly synergistic. Furthermore, oncolytic viruses can be engineered to express viral tumor antigens in nonvirus associated cancers, hence widening the potential range of cancers that can be targeted by Tessa’s VST-based treatments.
Andrew Khoo, co-founder and CEO of Tessa Therapeutics, commented on the partnership “We are constantly looking for ways to expand the efficacy and potential applications of our cancer treatments to benefit as many patients as possible. The combination of VSTs with oncolytic viruses is a novel approach that is entirely aligned with our philosophy of redirecting the body’s highly effective anti-viral immune response to target and destroy solid tumors.”
Dr Stephen Russell, co-Founder, President and CEO of Vyriad, said “Through this partnership, Tessa and Vyriad can build on each company’s expertise to develop treatments that are more potent with broader applications. The use of engineered viruses, together with VSTs, is highly synergistic and has the potential to benefit a greater range of patients in areas of significant unmet medical need.”
About Tessa Therapeutics
Tessa Therapeutics is a fully-integrated, international biotech company with the scientific vision of revolutionizing the treatment of cancer by redirecting the body’s potent anti-viral immune response to recognize and kill cancer cells. Tessa’s core virus-specific T cell (VST) platform has shown compelling results in the treatment of solid tumors, and the company is building a portfolio of therapies addressing a wide range of tumors by combining the qualities of its T cell platform with complementary technologies. Tessa’s international, multi-center clinical trial and T cell therapy production & logistics experience are foundational to the company’s drive towards commercialization. The company has exclusive licenses to multiple technologies developed at Baylor College of Medicine. The National Cancer Centre Singapore, one of Asia’s leading clinical research centers, is a strategic shareholder of Tessa and has granted exclusive rights to immuno-oncology technologies to Tessa. The combination of such technologies from its academic, clinical, and commercial research & development partners have enabled the company to create a fully-integrated approach to the treatment of cancer with immunotherapy.
For more information on Tessa, please visit www.tessatherapeutics.com.
Founded by a passionate team of world-leading researchers and clinicians with extensive experience in development and translation of novel oncolytic therapies for the treatment of cancer, Vyriad is a clinical stage, biopharmaceutical company based in Rochester, Minnesota, that specializes in the development of powerful oncolytic virus therapies, utilizing engineered viruses designed to selectively and rapidly destroy cancer. Vyriad’s oncolytic immunovirotherapy products are based on the company’s engineered oncolytic VSV and Measles Virus platforms that enable selective destruction of cancer cells without harming normal tissues. Vyriad’s product pipeline encompasses multiple clinical- and preclinical-stage programs that target a broad range of cancer indications as well as programs that pair the company’s oncolytic viruses with other cancer immunotherapy modalities, traditional cancer therapy, and newer targeted therapies. In addition, Vyriad is developing novel diagnostic/theranostic tests for more accurate prediction of immunovirotherapy response. Vyriad’s oncolytic VSV vaccine technology, the focus of the Tessa Therapeutics collaboration, was acquired from Yale University, Miami University, Mayo Clinic, and Profectus Biosciences, a USA company specializing in the clinical advancement of vesiculovirus vaccines for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.
For more information about Vyriad, visit www.vyriad.com.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, and past performance should not be considered as an indication of future performance.
Will Carnwath, CJ Lin
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