GLASGOW, Scotland, Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- VIRTTU Biologics, a clinical stage oncolytic immunotherapeutic company developing SEPREHVIR, a tumor-targeted herpes simplex vector, is pleased to announce the presentation of a poster by a key collaborator, Dr. Tim Cripe (Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio), at AACR in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 10, 2015.
Two clinical trials in pediatric oncology are ongoing using SEPREHVIR. One in non-CNS solid tumors including neuroblastoma and sarcoma (NCT00931931) uses systemic and intratumoral delivery, the second in high grade gliomas (NCT02031965) involves peritumoral injection after surgery.
Entitled "Checkpoint Blockade Enhances Oncolytic Herpes Virotherapy in Immunosuppressive Sarcoma Models", this poster describes marked synergy between SEPREHVIR and an anti-PD-1 antibody in an immunocompetent, PD-L1 positive rhabdomyosarcoma model. As single-agents, SEPREHVIR and an anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitory antibody showed moderate tumor growth delay with no complete responses. Strikingly, these two therapies combined synergistically to produce superior efficacy, substantially reducing tumor growth with significantly prolonged overall survival and complete responses. Notably the combination therapy did not recruit more T cells but induced more inflammatory responses in a less immune regulatory/suppressive environment. Overall, these data suggest the combination of PD-1 and oncolytic herpes virotherapy may be an effective treatment strategy for some cancers.
"SEPREHVIR's targeted mode of action, very good tolerability profile and multiple routes of administration facilitate combinatorial strategies with diverse anti-cancer agents, and this poster illustrates this with a checkpoint inhibitor" commented Dr. Deirdre Gillespie CEO at VIRTTU. "As single agents checkpoint inhibitors show excellent results in a subset of patients. Combination with SEPREHVIR, which induces anti-tumor immunotherapeutic activity in patients may have the potential to convert patients to check point inhibitor 'responders'. We have seen similarly compelling SEPREHVIR synergistic combination data with multiple anti-cancer agents which supports the clinical testing of these combinations".
About VIRTTU Biologics
VIRTTU is a privately held biotechnology company, which has pioneered the development of oncolytic viruses for treating cancer. Although viruses naturally kill the cells they infect, weakened viruses have been used in medicine for centuries as vaccinations against the infectious diseases they cause. Scientists at VIRTTU have reprogrammed this ability in a common human virus so that it targets and kills only cancer cells (oncolysis), leaving normal cells unharmed. Additionally, the presence of the tumour-specific viral infection works as a vaccination triggering the patient's own immune system to mount an anti-cancer response – a treatment known as oncolytic immunotherapy.
VIRTTU's lead oncolytic product SEPREHVIR has been administered to over 90 patients ranging from 8 to 84 years with many different types of cancer including brain, melanoma, head and neck cancer, sarcomas, neuroblastoma and mesothelioma (a devastating lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure). In these patients, SEPREHVIR can be administered by the route most suitable for their disease which includes systemic administration by intravenous infusion, direct intratumoral injection, and loco-regional infusion. SEPREHVIR®, which the company is interested in partnering for further development, is the first product from an active oncolytic immunotherapy platform technology (SEPRERHVEC). VIRTTU's in-house expertise has led to the development of techniques to rapidly engineer further therapeutic modalities into the SEPREHVIR backbone and VIRTTU now has a promising pipeline of next-generation clinical candidates. VIRTTU's scientific and technical expertise in oncolytic virotherapy has been established over 15 years of research and development activity carried out both in-house and with leading researchers in oncolytic immunotherapy, resulting in many firsts in the field and 68 publications in peer- reviewed journals.
For more information about the Company visit www.VIRTTU.com
SOURCE VIRTTU Biologics