Targovax grants Zelluna Immunotherapy an FTO license to intellectual property relating to mutant RAS T cell receptor technology
- Targovax grants Zelluna an FTO license to Targovax patents and know-how to further enable development of Zelluna’s mutant RAS T-cell receptor therapies
- Targovax and Zelluna intend to collaborate on additional discovery and development of novel mutant RAS T cell receptors
Oslo, Norway, 14 March 2019 – Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage biotechnology company developing immune activators to target hard-to-treat solid tumors, today announces that it has granted a freedom-to-operate (FTO) license to Zelluna Immunotherapy for the development of mutant RAS T cell receptor (mutRAS TCRs) therapies.
Through the development of the TG neoantigen vaccine program, Targovax has established a significant patent portfolio and know-how in therapies targeting mutant RAS cancers. In addition to covering the TG vaccine program, these patents and know-how are also highly relevant in T cell therapy.
Zelluna Immunotherapy has built a portfolio of validated mutRAS TCRs isolated from long-term cancer survivors treated with first generation TG mutRAS vaccines. Targovax has agreed to out-license Targovax patents and know-how to Zelluna to enable the development of Zelluna’s mutRAS TCRs and create a stronger joint position in the mutRAS TCR field. In addition, the companies have signed a letter of intent to establish an R&D collaboration for the discovery and development of additional novel mutRAS TCR products.
Under the license agreement, Zelluna has been granted a global, non-exclusive license to relevant Targovax patents and know-how, for which Targovax will be compensated financially. The potential deal value amounts to NOK 100 million in milestones and annual fees, in addition to royalties on sales and sub-licensing revenues. Zelluna will retain full rights to, and freedom to operate (FTO) for, its portfolio of mutRAS TCRs and will be responsible for the development of these.
Øystein Soug, CEO of Targovax, said: “Our unique TG technology has already demonstrated a clinical benefit by generating immune responses to RAS driver mutations, and we remain committed to developing mutRAS vaccines in the currently underserved mutant RAS cancer indications. Additionally, we are confident that our proprietary technology and know-how has potential application in the parallel field of T cell therapy; itself a rapidly evolving novel class of immunotherapies. The intention of joining forces with Zelluna, will be strengthening the ability to develop a portfolio of mutRAS TCR products to be applied in T cell therapy, which will complement our TG vaccine development and further solidify Targovax’s strong position as the leader in mutRAS targeted immunotherapy”.
For further information, please contact:
Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624
Media and IR enquires:
Andreas Tinglum – Corporate Communications
Phone: +47 9300 1773
Activating the patient’s immune system to fight cancer
Targovax (OSE:TRVX) is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing immune activators to target hard-to-treat solid tumors. Immuno-oncology is currently one of the fastest growing therapeutic fields in medicine.
Targovax’s lead product candidate, ONCOS-102, is a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus, which has been engineered to selectively infect and replicate in cancer cells. It has been shown to activate the immune system to generate tumor-specific immune responses. In phase I trials, ONCOS-102 induced both local and systemic innate and adaptive immune activation, which has been associated with clinical benefit. ONCOS-102’s targeted path-to-market indication is mesothelioma, where the virus is currently being tested in a randomized phase II trial. Another trial, in checkpoint inhibitor refractory advanced melanoma, is expected to produce important proof-of-concept immune activation data in heavily pre-treated patients.
Targovax is also developing a neo-antigen cancer vaccine targeting tumors with oncogenic RAS–mutations, which are known to drive cancer. The TG vaccine program has shown strong RAS-specific immune activation and a signal of clinical efficacy in a 32-patient trial with TG01 in resected pancreatic cancer. A next generation product candidate, TG02 is currently tested in a phase I trial in colorectal cancer, both as monotherapy and in combination with Keytruda (an anti-PD1 check point inhibitor).
About Zelluna Immunotherapy
Zelluna Immunotherapy specializes in immunotherapies targeting a broad range of solid cancers with a high unmet medical need. The company is developing a unique portfolio of non-engineered tumor specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) isolated from long-term surviving patients from cancer vaccine trials. The TCRs combine specificity and affinity to have the potential for a safe and efficient therapy to target a variety of common cancer types. Zelluna, in addition to internal competences, has a long-term agreement with the Department for Cell Therapy at Oslo University Hospital, providing comprehensive capabilities of TCR development, ranging from lead discovery to clinical translation.