PsiOxus Therapeutics raises a £25m Series C investment to progress oncolytic virus plus checkpoint inhibitor combination study in metastatic colorectal cancer
OXFORD, UK – 19 May 2015
– PsiOxus Therapeutics Ltd. (PsiOxus), the oncolytic immuno-oncology company, has closed a Series C financing round of £25 million (c$38.5 million) to progress its lead clinical candidate, enadenotucirev, and a pipeline of follow-on oncolytic programmes from the antibody ‘armed’ series of AbEnAd viruses.
Woodford Investment Management joins as a new investor Founding investor Imperial Innovations led the Series C round alongside other current investors Invesco, SROne (investment arm of GlaxoSmithKline), Lundbeckfond Ventures and Mercia Technologies. In addition, one new investor, Woodford Investment Management, has joined the syndicate via the recently formed Woodford Patient Capital Trust. PsiOxus’ Chief Financial Officer, Theodora Harold, will formally present on the financing and future plans on Tuesday 19th May at the BioEquity Conference taking place in Vienna, Austria.
Leapfrogging into a large market segment
PsiOxus’ lead product, enadenotucirev, is an oncolytic virus that has been shown in phase I clinical trials to reach and selectively infect cancer cells when administered by intravenous infusion. The ability to deliver enadenotucirev systemically via intravenous infusion represents a significant advantage over the other oncolytic therapies currently in development that require intratumoural delivery. Furthermore, these enadenotucirev phase I clinical trials have shown that the selective infection of tumour cells by enadenotucirev leads to the infiltration of immune cells (T-cells) into colorectal tumours.
PsiOxus will now use the new funding to conduct a phase I clinical study combining enadenotucirev and an immune-checkpoint inhibitor in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. With this study, PsiOxus aims to demonstrate that the immune process triggered by enadenotucirev infection of tumour cells, will enable the activity of checkpoint inhibitors in this otherwise immune modulator resistant indication.
Dr John Beadle, CEO of PsiOxus commented: “This new investment allows us to make exciting additions to our ongoing programmes. In addition to moving our enadenotucirev programme forward in a variety of solid cancer monotherapy indications, we will now be able to examine the combination of enadenotucirev with a checkpoint inhibitor in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. This leapfrog strategy could create a substantial new commercial opportunity by introducing this exciting class of immunotherapeutic agents to the large colorectal cancer market.”
Forcing cancer cells to produce checkpoint inhibitors
Looking to the future, the AbEnAd platform will be used to ‘arm’ the enadenotucirev virus with the genetic instructions required to force cancer cells into producing therapeutic antibodies, opening up an exciting form of anti-cancer gene therapy whereby the metastatic tumour is forced into acting as an anti-cancer “drug factory.”
To date PsiOxus has developed AbEnAd viruses capable of producing a wide range of functioning therapeutic antibodies including anti-PDL1 and anti-CTLA4 antibodies, in preclinical studies. However, besides antibodies of different specificities, the arming platform can also be used to deliver a broad variety of biological agents including proteins, peptides, and RNAi. Up to three different therapeutic molecules can be incorporated in each virus product in order to produce combination therapies in a single dose form. PsiOxus will now use some of the Series C funding to progress a preferred, and as yet undisclosed, internal candidate whilst continuing to seek partnerships for other applications.