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Oct 23, 2012

Oncolytic Virus Therapy Firms Merge

  • DNAtrix and VectorLogics have merged into a single entity that will retain the DNAtrix name and continue to develop the latter’s lead early clinical-stage oncolytic virus-based glioblastoma therapy, DNX-2401. DNAtrix is focused on the development of modified virus-based treatments for aggressive cancers. A completed Phase I dose-escalation trial with DNX-2401 at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center met its key safety endpoint, and showed that direct injection of the product into human brain tumors resulted in extensive tumor killing, with no evidence of toxicity to normal brain cells. Treated patients demonstrated prolonged survival, including several complete responders, and one patient who remained in remission 25 months post-treatment.

    DNX-2401 has also undergone an investigator-sponsored clinical trial in 21 patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who have already undergone tumor debulking and chemotherapy. This trial similarly showed that intraperitoneally administered DNX-2401 was safe, with no evidence of toxicity, and resulted in changes to clinical paramaters indicative of an antitumor response.

    VectorLogics is developing products for the treatment of cancer and liver diseases using attenuated viral delivery systems. The firm’s lead adenovirus-based oncolytic virotherapeutic AdΔ24-RGD, is in development for the treatment of ovarian and brain cancer, and has successfully completed a Phase I dose-escalation study. VectorLogics says it is progressing to a Phase I/II clinical trial that will combine that will combine AdΔ24-RGD with standard chemotherapy.

    VectorLogics’ second product candidate is an orally-administered therapeutic hepatitis vaccine based on an attenuated avian virus (Infectious Bursal Disease Virus, or IBDV). The firm says a Phase II clinical trial conducted in Hungary demonstrated the safety and efficacy of IBDV superinfecton therapy in 42 patients with acute HBV and HCV. Superinfection therapy exploits the phenomenon that infection by one type of hepatitis virus (e.g., HCV) can be abolished following superinfection by a second hepatitis virus (e.g., HBV). IBDV treatment also stabilized and/or improved the life-threatening complications of cirrhotic hepatitis patients.

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