- Hubro acquires the GM-CSF project from Targovax for a cash payment of NOK10m
- Hubro will continue the development of GM-CSF as adjuvant for use with its pipeline of novel cancer vaccines
Oslo, Norway, 10 November 2022 – Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX) and Hubro Therapeutics AS (Hubro) today announce that they have entered into an asset purchase agreement whereby Hubro acquires Targovax’s GM-CSF (Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor) process development and production project.
Under the agreement, Hubro will make a cash payment to Targovax of 10MNOK for the acquisition of the GM-CSF project. Targovax retains conditional buy-back and supply options, and a share in gross proceeds in the event of a re-sale of the asset within a time-limited period.
Dr. Lubor Gaal, Chief Financial Officer of Targovax, said: “With the switch to QS-21 STIMULON™ from our collaboration partner Agenus as the adjuvant of choice for the next generation mutant RAS TG vaccines, Targovax is no longer prioritizing further investments into GM-CSF development. We are delighted that Hubro will now take over the GM-CSF adjuvant project and this deal shows that we can create value from non-strategic assets.”
Jon Amund Eriksen, Chief Executive Officer of Hubro, said: “For the commercial development of our therapeutic and prophylactic cancer vaccines it is important for us to have full control over production and supply of all pharmaceutical active components, including GM-CSF. We are therefore delighted for having the opportunity to take over the GM-CSF development project from Targovax, which will provide significant savings of development costs and time towards obtaining the high-quality product we need for pivotal clinical development and later marketing of our cancer vaccines.”
GM-CSF is an immuno-modulator used for protein and peptide-based vaccines and was the adjuvant component of Targovax’s first generation mutant RAS TG vaccine products. Following a collaboration agreement with Agenus Inc. [NASDAQ: AGEN] announced earlier in 2022, Targovax will develop its next generation mutant RAS TG vaccines with Agenus´ proprietary adjuvant QS-21 STIMULON. Two clinical trials with Targovax´s lead mutant RAS candidate TG01 adjuvanted by QS-21 STIMULON are expected to open during 2022. The GM-CSF asset purchase agreement with Hubro ensures the continued development of the GM-CSF adjuvant product, which will serve as an integral part of Hubro’s technology platform. Hubro aims at introducing its own developed GM-CSF product in clinical testing as adjuvant for its peptide cancer specific vaccines in 2024.
Activating the patient’s immune system to fight cancer
Targovax (OSE:TRVX) is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing immune activators to target hard-to-treat solid tumors. Targovax’s focus is to activate the patient’s immune system to fight cancer, and to bring benefit to cancer patients with few available treatment alternatives. Targovax is developing its product candidates in different cancer indications, including melanoma, mesothelioma, and multiple myeloma, and has demonstrated a favorable safety and tolerability profile.
Targovax’s lead clinical candidate, ONCOS-102, is a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus, which has been engineered to selectively infect cancer cells and activate the immune system against the tumor. Following very encouraging clinical data in several indications, both as monotherapy and in combinations, ONCOS-102 is progressing into a randomized phase 2 trial in melanoma patients resistant to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor treatment.
Building on successful clinical studies which have provided deep mechanistic insights into the tumor biology and the human immune systems, Targovax is researching circular RNA (circRNA) as novel cancer medicines. In addition, Targovax has a KRAS immunotherapy program, with lead cancer vaccine candidate, TG01, expected to enter the clinic in an enhanced format in the second half of 2022. Together this provides Targovax with a rich pipeline of innovative future immunotherapy product candidates to follow ONCOS-102.
About Hubro Therapeutics
Specific immunotherapy for cancer treatment and prevention
Hubro Therapeutics is a clinical stage private Norwegian biotech company developing cancer diagnostics and cancer specific vaccines for both treatment and prevention of cancer. Hubro’s vaccines activates T cells of the immune system to attack cancer cells harboring frameshift mutations that are hall marks of both sporadic and hereditary cancers of the micro satellite instability (MSI) phenotype. By combining diagnostic tests and vaccines, Hubro aims at providing effective immunotherapy for patients with MSI-colorectal cancer, MSI-Gastric cancer and MSI-endometrial cancer, as well as effective prevention of development of hereditary cancers progressing from Lynch Syndrome.