Regeneron & Vyriad partner to develop new oncolytic virus treatments

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Vyriad have entered into research collaboration and option licensing agreement focused on the development of new oncolytic virus-based treatments for various forms of cancer.

The agreement includes a Phase 2 clinical study – slated to begin in 2020 – evaluating Regeneron’s PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo (cemiplimab-rwlc) in combination with Vyriad’s oncolytic virus Voyager-V1 in multiple types of cancer, including melanoma, lung, liver and endometrial cancers.

The companies will also enter into a five-year research effort that utilizes Regeneron’s VelociSuite technologies to jointly design and validate novel Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)-based oncolytic virus treatments.

Libtayo is a fully-human monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) and is being jointly developed and commercialized by Regeneron and Sanofi under a global collaboration agreement.

It was invented by Regeneron using the company’s proprietary VelocImmune technology which uses a unique genetically-humanised mouse to produce optimised fully-human antibodies.

Vyriad’s investigational drug candidate Voyager-V1 is a potent VSV programmed to attack cancer cells selectively, while also activating the immune system to kill local and distant cancer cells.

Further, it amplifies inflammatory and antitumor immune system responses that help turn “cold” tumours “hot,” which potentially enhances anti-PD-1 activity. Voyager-V1 is deliverable by intravenous infusion.

The agreement sees Vyriad receive an upfront payment and Regeneron will make an equity investment in the company.

Regeneron will have an exclusive option to license Voyager-V1 and other collaboration products. Vyriad is eligible to receive additional payments based on the achievement of specified development and commercial milestones, as well as royalties on net sales of potential future VSV-based collaboration products.

However, specific financial terms were not disclosed.

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