Oncorus Nomiates Oncolytic Virus Therapy ONCR-177 as Lead Candidate
30 November 2018 - - US-based oncolytic virus company Oncorus, Inchas nominated ONCR-177, a next-generation locally administered oncolytic virus clinical candidate for multiple solid tumor indications, the company said.

ONCR-177 utilises Oncorus' proprietary, next-generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus platform.

In addition, Oncorus has created a unique synthetic oncolytic virus platform, which will enable the company to develop multiple oncolytic viruses for repeated, systemic administration.

Proprietary innovations in potency and safety engineered by Oncorus into both platforms enable best-of-class potential for the company's portfolio programs and the opportunity to pursue multiple cancer types.

Nomination of lead clinical candidate, ONCR-177. Oncorus recently nominated a lead clinical candidate, ONCR-177, a locally administered oncolytic virus therapy. ONCR-177 features key innovations engineered into Oncorus' next-generation oHSV platform, including the largest number of immunomodulatory payloads in the class.

These payloads include IL-12, FLT3L, CCL4 and antagonists of the clinically proven checkpoint inhibitors, CTLA-4 and PD-1, to enable the recruitment and activation of T cells, natural killer cells and dendritic cells and increase the likelihood of productive anti-tumor responses.

ONCR-177 is also a fully-replication competent virus in that it retains the ability to expresses γ34.5, which allows the virus to replicate in the presence of host antiviral immune responses, a feature unique among oHSVs that have been developed to date or are being developed currently.

ONCR-177 also features Oncorus' proprietary microRNA-attenuation strategy, which leverages the differential expression of microRNA sequences to allow robust viral replication in tumor cells, while preventing replication in healthy tissue.

In addition, Oncorus has developed a complementary and orthogonal approach to protecting neurons from viral infection by engineering mutations in UL37, an HSV protein, which prevent both axonal retrograde transport and latency.

The company intends to file an investigational new drug application and start a first-in-human study by the end of 2019 in order to evaluate ONCR-177 in multiple solid tumor indications.

Achieved in vivo proof-of-concept for synthetic virus program for repeat, systemic administration. 

Oncorus has made notable progress advancing its research programs for systemic intravenous delivery for its breakthrough synthetic virus platform.

Systemic delivery of oncolytic viruses offers the promise of targeting indications not amenable to locally administered oncolytic virus therapy such as cancers of the lung.

The company recently achieved in vivo proof-of-concept for its systemic virus platform and aims to nominate a lead clinical candidate synthetic virus by the end of 2019.

Solidified leadership with key hires. Oncorus made key management hires in 2018 that helped expand the company's expertise, solidify its leadership team, and position it for rapid growth.

In September, the company announced that Theodore T. Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed president and CEO.

Ashburn brings experience in immuno-oncology drug development and commercialization to Oncorus.

Mitchell H. Finer, Ph.D., Oncorus' co-founder, founding CEO and MPM capital managing director, assumed the role of executive chairman.