German Biotech Chasing Down Brain Cancer Receives Positive Phase I/IIa Data

06/11/2017 - 2 minutes

Oryx’s oncolytic virus treatment for the aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, has demonstrated safety and efficacy in a clinical trial.

Oryx is developing three exciting candidates for the treatment of cancer. One of these, an oncolytic virus, ParvOryx, has demonstrated its safety and efficacy in patients with glioblastoma – a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. The Phase I/IIa results, published in Molecular Therapy, showed that the treatment safely improved patient survival and support its progression through the clinic.

ParvOryx kills tumor cells by a number of mechanisms, including dysregulating cell transcription, cell cycle arrest and inducing cell death. In addition, oncolysis induces a strong tumor-specific immune response leading to the recognition and elimination of any remaining cancer cells. ParvOryx also “turns a cold tumor into a hot tumor” by changing its microenvironment, which makes the it vulnerable to immuno-oncological approaches.

The study reported that ParvOryx increased progression-free survival to 15.9 weeks and overall survival to 464 days, which are similar to results recently seen during a trial using a replication-competent armed retrovirus. This was achieved without side effects being observed or the maximum tolerated dose being used.

A breakdown of Oryx’s ParvOryx candidate, and the progress that it has made so far.

Glioblastoma is rare – with an incidence of 2-3 per 100,000 adults per year – but accounts for 52% of all primary brain tumors. For this reason, it is exciting to see promising results from Oryx, which could help to boost survival rates that can fall as low as 4%. However, perhaps as a reflection of its low incidence, the study was carried out in a relatively small number of patients and the biotech must repeat these findings in a larger study before we get too optimistic.

If Oryx does continue to succeed at later stages of clinical development, it will come up against big players in the brain cancer field like Immatics, which is developing a single therapy to be effective against a variety of cancers, including glioblastoma. Biotech veteran, Transgene, is not far behind Oryx, as its ‘next generation’ oncolytic virus for glioblastoma has just entered a Phase I/IIa study.

The biotech will continue to develop the candidate, both alone and in combination, following good clinical data in combination with immuno-oncology drugs.

Images – SvedOliver /; Oryx

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