The LentiVector® platform technology
Oxford BioMedica’s proprietary gene delivery system, called the LentiVector® platform technology, was invented through pioneering work initially at Oxford University and then through in-house development. Lentiviruses can deliver a significant amount of genetic information into cells very efficiently. The LentiVector® platform technology utilises a “stripped-down” version of the equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV). Technology highlights include:
__ Long-lasting delivery of genetic material into target cells
__ No toxicity or adverse immune reaction
__ Integration of genes into non-dividing cells (e.g. neurons in the brain, retinal cells in the eye)
__ Large capacity for multiple therapeutic genes (e.g. three genes in ProSavin®)
Pre-clinical and clinical studies suggest that a single administration of Oxford BioMedica’s LentiVector® platform products can provide sustained or permanent efficacy. Our core LentiVector® platform products are ProSavin® for Parkinson’s disease and four ocular gene therapies partnered with Sanofi.
The 5T4 tumour antigen platform technology
The 5T4 antigen was discovered by scientists at Cancer Research UK, a founding shareholder of Oxford BioMedica in 1996, who granted the Company exclusive rights to its intellectual property relating to the 5T4 antigen and antibody. The 5T4 tumour antigen is a unique protein found on most common types of solid cancer including prostate, colorectal, ovarian, breast, renal and non-small cell lung cancer. It is potentially a valuable target for novel anti-cancer interventions given its restricted expression in normal tissues and its high prevalence on the surface of both primary and metastatic cancerous cells. The market opportunity for the 5T4 platform technology is, therefore, significant.
TroVax® is Oxford BioMedica’s 5T4-specific therapeutic cancer vaccine candidate which is in Phase II development. In collaboration with Pfizer, pre-clinical evaluation of Oxford BioMedica’s 5T4-targeted antibody therapy is on-going to optimise the product for clinical development. ImaginAb is also engineering an in vivo diagnostic imaging agent using an antibody fragment to target the 5T4 tumour antigen.
Oxford BioMedica’s strategy is to maximise the potential of its technologies and product candidates through in-house development, collaborations and licensing. Current partners and licensees include Sanofi, Pfizer, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, MolMed, Sigma-Aldrich, Biogen Idec, Emergent BioSolutions and ImaginAb.
ProSavin® – treating Parkinson’s disease
ProSavin®, a gene-based treatment for Parkinson’s disease, has completed Phase I/II development.
Ocular Phase I/II programme – in partnership with Sanofi
In collaboration with Sanofi, Oxford BioMedica is developing four LentiVector® platform product candidates for the treatment of ocular diseases: RetinoStat® for “wet” age-related macular degeneration; StarGenTM for Stargardt disease; UshStat® for Usher syndrome 1B; and EncorStat® for corneal graft rejection. In January 2011, the lead product RetinoStat® started Phase I clinical development in the US, followed by StarGenTM which entered Phase I/IIa development in June 2011, and UshStat® which commenced Phase I/IIa development in February 2012. Receiving FDA approval for the first clinical studies to directly administer lentiviral vector-based treatments to patients in US demonstrates our ability to bring novel products into clinical development.
In June 2012, Sanofi elected to exercise its options for StarGenTM and UshStat® for a total option payment of US$3 million.
TroVax® – active Phase II development programme
TroVax® is a therapeutic cancer vaccine that stimulates the immune system to destroy cancerous cells expressing the 5T4 tumour antigen which is present on most solid tumours.
LentiVector® platform manufacturing
Oxford BioMedica acquired a manufacturing facility based in Oxford, UK for £1.9 million which completed in February 2011. The manufacturing facility will allow greater control of the production of Oxford BioMedica’s proprietary LentiVector® platform technology in order to support five of the Company’s clinical programmes. This investment in specialist manufacturing processes will address one of the main hurdles associated with the rapid progression of products through Phase II, Phase III and to market and, importantly, also provides the opportunity for Oxford BioMedica to become the LentiVector® platform supplier of choice for its current and future partners.