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Dec 15, 2010

Cancer Therapeutics Firm PsiOxus Formed through Merger of Myotec and Hybrid Bio

  • PsiOxus Therapeutics has been formed through the merger of Hybrid Biosystems with Imperial Innovations Group portfolio company Myotec Therapeutics. Imperial Innovations is also leading a £3.6 million (about $5.7 million) investment round in the newly merged firm and will hold a 41% stake in PsiOxus.

    The new funds will be used to progress a pipeline of products for cancer and wasting diseases, including Phase I and II trials of Myotec’s MT-102 and Hybrid’s ColoAd1. MT-102 is a dual-action anabolic catabolic transforming agent that is already in Phase II proof-of-concept studies for the treatment of cancer-related cachexia.

    ColoAd1 is an oncolytic virus that Hybrid claims has been developed using a directed evolutionary process to generate a product with high selectivity for cancer cells, but little or no effect on normal tissue. Originally developed in collaboration with Bayer Schering, ColoAd1 is a broad-spectrum anticancer candidate currently undergoing late preclinical development and GMP production scaleup. Initial therapeutic indications for the product will include metastatic colorectal cancer and primary hepatic cellular carcinoma.

    PsiOxus aims to expand its pipeline by exploiting Hybrid’s polymer-coated recombinant viral vector platform PolyStar, and its adjuvant and immunotherapeutic system, PolyMap. The PolyStar vector technology is designed to avoid pre-existing antivector immunity when targeting vaccines to antigen-presenting cells. PsiOxus claims the approach essentially acts as a Trojan horse, making vaccine vectors invisible to the immune system such that viral vaccines can be used repeatedly in the same individuals.

    The PolyMap technology generates polymerized synthetic toll-like receptor (TLR) adjuvants, which PsiOxus says can trigger a fivefold greater immune response than traditional TLR adjuvants. While the soluble poly-[N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide]-based polymer itself is totally nonimmunogenic, the firm maintains presenting the small synthetic adjuvant molecules in an arrayed pattern significantly enhances the immunogenic effect.

    Myotec was established in 2006 to commercialize the work of researchers at Imperial College, London. Additional players in the latest £3.6 million funding boost for the newly formed PsiOxus include Invesco Perpetual, which invested an additional £1.5 million (roughly $2.4 million) in Myotec in March, and Mercia Fund, a founding investor in Hybrid.


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