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Bristol-Myers secures rights to PsiOxus’ armed oncolytic virus

PBR Staff Writer Published 21 December 2016

Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed an agreement worth up to $936m plus royalties to secure global rights to an armed oncolytic virus being developed by PsiOxus Therapeutics to treat solid tumors.

Under the deal, Bristol-Myers will pay $50m upfront and will be solely responsible for worldwide clinical development and commercialization activities associated to the NG-348 virus.

The deal also includes payment of up to $886m in development, regulatory and sales-based milestones, as well as royalties on net sales.

In addition, Bristol-Myers will also provide funding to support preclinical development of NG-348.

UK-based PsiOxus developed NG-348 using its tumor-specific immuno-gene therapy (T-SIGn) platform.

The anticancer candidate is an armed transgene-modified variant of the enadenotucirev virus, which is engineered to encode two membrane-integrated proteins, full-length human CD80 and a membrane-anchored antibody fragment specific for the T-cell receptor CD3 protein.

PsiOxus claims that when the two membrane proteins are expressed on the surface of NG-348-infected tumor cells, they provide T-cell receptor and costimulatory signals, required to polyclonally activate tumor-infiltrating T-cells in an antigen independent manner.

Bristol-Myers Squibb head of development for oncology Fouad Namouni said: “PsiOxus has developed a novel platform of tumor-targeted delivery with oncolytic viruses focused on cancer and shares our passion for helping more patients respond to treatment.

“We are excited to bring our deep expertise in Immuno-Oncology to the continued development of NG-348 and to better understand the potential role of oncolytic viruses in enhancing checkpoint blockade in multiple types of cancer in the tumor microenvironment.”

The agreement follows an earlier deal signed in June this year between the firms covering enadenotucirev, PsiOxus' systemically administered unarmed oncolytic adenovirus therapeutic.

Image: Bristol-Myers Squibb facility in New Brunswick, New Jersey, US. Photo: courtesy of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.