The FINANCIAL — Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and PsiOxus Therapeutics, Ltd. (PsiOxus) on December 20 announced an agreement granting Bristol-Myers Squibb exclusive worldwide rights to NG-348, a pre-clinical stage, “armed” oncolytic virus with the goal of addressing solid tumors.
The agreement is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, according to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Oncolytic virus therapy utilizes modified viruses like the adenovirus (otherwise known as the common cold virus) that selectively replicate within tumor cells and not within normal tissue. Such viruses stimulate an inflammatory response in the tumor microenvironment, resulting in the accumulation of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. The NG-348 virus uses PsiOxus’ proprietary Tumor-Specific Immuno-gene Therapy (T-SIGn) platform to “arm” the virus with two additional immuno-therapeutic transgenes.
“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,” said Fouad Namouni, M.D., head of Development, Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “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.”
“NG-348, represents the first of our T-SIGn armed-viruses,” stated John Beadle, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, PsiOxus, “We are thrilled to partner once again with Bristol-Myers Squibb, a leader in Immuno-Oncology, to drive this program into clinical development with the aim of providing a potential treatment to cancer patients.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will grant PsiOxus a $50 million upfront payment and will be solely responsible for global clinical development and commercialization activities related to NG-348. PsiOxus is also eligible to receive up to $886 million in development, regulatory and sales-based milestones, as well as royalties on net sales. Bristol-Myers Squibb will also be responsible for providing PsiOxus funding to support activities related to the preclinical development of NG-348.
This agreement follows a June 2016 agreement between the two companies where Bristol-Myers Squibb and PsiOxus entered into an exclusive clinical collaboration to study enadenotucirev, PsiOxus’ systemically administered “unarmed” oncolytic adenovirus therapeutic.