AstraZeneca, Omnis Partner
AstraZeneca ‘s global research and development arm, MedImmune, has entered into a licensing agreement with Omnis Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biotechnology company focused on the development of oncolytic viruses. This agreement will allow MedImmune to combine key agents from its investigational immunotherapy portfolio with Omnis' lead investigational oncolytic virus program, a genetically engineered strain of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The program is currently being studied in a Phase I clinical trial as a monotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and other cancers that have metastasised to the liver.
Oncolytic viruses are designed to target tumor cells with the killing potency of viruses. VSV is among a group of naturally occurring viruses that can be engineered to selectively infect tumour cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells. These oncolytic viruses represent a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against cancer and may be synergistic with various immunotherapies currently being developed by MedImmune.
Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune has the license to develop and, if successful, to commercialise Omnis's lead oncolytic virus program. Clinical development of the virus will be accelerated with the objective of rapidly progressing to combination studies with MedImmune's immunotherapy molecules.