Bristol-Myers Squibb: Could the Common Cold Help Fight Cancer?

Could the Common Cold
Help Fight Cancer?

PsiOxus Agreement Will Explore Whether ‘Armed’
Virus Could Treat Select Tumors

Could the Common Cold Help Fight Cancer?

There's no cure yet for the common cold, which has eluded scientists for generations with its ability to adapt and persist. But what if a new generation of science could harness the resilience and endurance of the cold virus to help fight off diseases like cancer?

A new agreement between Bristol-Myers Squibb and U.K.-based PsiOxus Therapeutics will explore whether oncolytic viruses may be appropriate as a first-line treatment for select tumors or whether they could be used in a supporting role to address tumors that are resistant to immunotherapy.

PsiOxus specializes in oncolytic virus therapy, which uses modified viruses like the adenovirus — otherwise known as the common cold virus — to selectively replicate within tumor cells, but not within normal tissue. Such viruses are believed to promote anti-tumor responses by stimulating an inflammatory response in the tumor microenvironment, resulting in the accumulation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.

In other words, oncolytic viruses are designed to fight.

An 'Armed' Virus

As part of the license agreement announced on last month, BMS will be granted exclusive worldwide rights to NG-348, a pre-clinical stage, oncolytic virus that is considered "armed" because it is equipped with PsiOxus' proprietary tumor-targeted delivery platform.

"We're excited to bring our expertise in Immuno-Oncology to the continued development of NG-348 and better understand the potential role of oncolytic viruses in enhancing the work we do at BMS and our goal to help more patients respond to treatment," said Fouad Namouni, M.D., Head of Development, Oncology.

Under the terms of the agreement, BMS will be studying NG-348 in combination with immunotherapy agents and as a monotherapy treatment across multiple different tumor types. BMS will be solely responsible for global clinical development and commercialization activities related to NG-348.

Previous Collaboration

This latest collaboration is not the first time BMS and PsiOxus have teamed up. In June, BMS began an exclusive clinical collaboration with PsiOxus to evaluate their "unarmed" enadenotucirev, a systemically administered oncolytic adenovirus therapeutic, in combination with Opdivo (nivolumab) to investigate the use in a range of tumor types in late-stage cancer patients.

Paul Biondi, Head of Business Development, says working previously with PsiOxus led to another agreement with the company because such partnerships are aligned with BMS' strategy to follow the science.

"We lead with our science, which is reflected in the deals we have executed and how we have transformed, and we are focused on opportunities that make sense strategically and financially, for us and our partners," Biondi says. "PsiOxus is a great example of our global partnering strategy and focus on long-term collaborations."

To read the full press release about the latest PsiOxus and BMS agreement, please click here.


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