Targovax and Papyrus Therapeutics enter research collaboration to develop novel ONCOS viruses with receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor functionality

OSLO, Norway, Feb. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing immune activators to target hard-to-treat solid tumors, today announces that it has entered into a research collaboration agreement with Papyrus Therapeutics to assess the potential of combining their respective proprietary technology platforms to develop a first-in-class oncolytic virus concept with RTK inhibitor functionality.

Papyrus Therapeutics, Inc. (West Chester, PA, USA) is an emerging biopharma company developing novel tumor suppressor therapies. Papyrus's lead therapeutic is a modified, recombinant version of Opioid Binding Protein/Cell Adhesion Molecule-like (OPCML), which is an extra-cellular, upstream regulator of RTK activity. OPCML is a broadly acting tumor suppressor that is epigenetically silenced in many cancers, leading to tumor invasion and metastasis through deregulation of apoptosis, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cellular migration. Classic RTK inhibition using small molecules has proven highly effective in many cancers, but treatment resistance remains a significant challenge. Delivery of OPCML can overcome this challenge by reconstituting normal RTK signaling in the tumor.

Under the agreement, Targovax and Papyrus will run a joint pre-clinical research project to evaluate the technical feasibility and anti-cancer activity of combining the ONCOS oncolytic virus platform and recombinant OPCML technology. Targovax retains an exclusive option to develop and commercialize novel ONCOS-OPCML drug candidates emerging from the pre-clinical research collaboration.

Dr. Paul Blake, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Papyrus Therapeutics said: "We are excited by the potential of including our modified, recombinant OPCML with the clinically validated ONCOS platform, thereby extending the scope of our tumor suppression strategy to adenoviral gene therapy. Targovax has demonstrated the broad immunomodulatory power of their oncolytic immunotherapy in a variety of solid tumors, and we believe this serves as an ideal environment to reconstitute the extra-cellular tumor suppressor capabilities of OPCML".

Dr. Victor Levitsky, Chief Scientific Officer of Targovax added: "The tumor deploys two core strategies to avoid detection by the immune system and to enable it to grow and spread; local immunosuppression and inhibition of biochemical processes that prevent cellular migration and invasion into surrounding healthy tissue. By combining ONCOS and OPCML we can deal with both of these issues in parallel, and thereby establish a first-in-class immunotherapy concept that couples the power of oncolytic adenoviruses with the clinically validated principle of RTK inhibition."


For further information, please contact:
Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624
Email: renate.birkeli@targovax.com

Media enquires:
Andreas Tinglum - Corporate Communications (Norway)
Phone: +47 9300 1773
Email: andreas.tinglum@corpcom.no

IR enquires:
Kim Sutton Golodetz - LHA Investor Relations (US)
Email: kgolodetz@lhai.com
Phone: +1 212-838-3777

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SOURCE Targovax