- Targovax and Oblique will jointly explore the feasibility and anti-cancer potential of merging their ONCOS and Abiprot technology platforms
- ONCOS will be used to deliver Abiprot antibodies against hard-to-reach targets such as mutant RAS
Oslo, Norway, & Gothenburg, Sweden 29 June 2020 – Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing oncolytic viruses to target hard-to-treat solid tumors, today announces that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Oblique Therapeutics to evaluate the potential of using ONCOS oncolytic adenoviruses as a vector to encode and deliver Abiprot antibodies against hard-to-reach intra-cellular targets.
Oblique has developed a unique, proprietary methodology to identify epitopes on targets that have previously proven difficult to address with antibodies. This approach can be extended to intra-cellular targets such as mutant RAS, however, delivering antibodies into cells remains a major obstacle. Targovax and Oblique anticipate that expression of Abiprot antibodies against such targets using ONCOS as a vector can overcome this challenge and boost the specificity and power of the anti-tumor response.
Under the agreement the parties will jointly explore the technical feasibility and in vitro and in vivo functionality and anti-cancer activity of the ONCOS-Abiprot combination, initially focusing on mutant RAS as the target. If successful, this would provide a first-in-class oncolytic virus candidate directly targeting RAS and demonstrate proof-of-concept for ONCOS-Abiprot as a new technology platform.
Dr. Victor Levitsky, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Targovax, said: “We continue to explore innovative strategies to expand our ONCOS platform into mutant RAS immunotherapy, and we are very excited to initiate this collaboration with our colleagues at Oblique. With Abiprot they have built a cutting-edge methodology to develop antibodies against historically difficult targets to address, such as mutant RAS. By employing ONCOS as a vector for Oblique’s antibodies we believe we can both enhance antibody delivery into cancer cells and strengthen the oncolytic power of the ONCOS virus, and thus drive a synergistic effect between the two modalities”.
Dr. Sreesha P Srinivasa, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Translational R&D Oblique Therapeutics, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Targovax in extending the capabilities of our proprietary Abiprot platform to translate antibodies against difficult to reach intra-cellular targets into effective therapeutics. RAS is one of the most frequently mutated oncogenes but has until recently proven to be therapeutically intractable. Oblique has used its Abiprot platform to identify novel epitopes on mutant RAS and developed functional antibodies against these epitopes. The ONCOS platform potentially offers an efficient vehicle for intracellular delivery of these functional antibodies into cancer cells. If proven successful, this extends the target space addressable by antibodies to a large number of very important intracellular oncogenes”.
Activating the patient’s immune system to fight cancer
Targovax (OSE:TRVX) is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing oncolytic viruses to target hard-to-treat solid tumors. Targovax’s lead product candidate, ONCOS-102, is a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus, which has been engineered to selectively infect cancer cells and activate the immune system to fight the cancer.
ONCOS-102 is currently being tested in mesothelioma, melanoma and peritoneal malignancies and has already shown promising clinical results both as monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy, and a checkpoint inhibitor.
About Oblique TherapeuticsOblique Therapeutics is a privately held Swedish biotech developing innovative new medicines for severe diseases with a large unmet medical need focusing on pain and advanced cancer. The company uses AbiprotTM, an in-house-invented, next-generation antibody platform that can generate antibodies with programmed function against the full human proteome. The portfolio comprises three in-house programs – two antibody candidates: aKRAS in advanced cancer, aTRPA1 in pain; and the small molecule OT-1096 in triple-negative breast cancer. In addition, there are three antibody programs in collaboration with pharma. Oblique Therapeutics makes medicines that matter to patients. https://obliquet.com/
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Owe Orwar, CEO