2:31 PM
 | 
Sep 13, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Boehringer adds to immuno-oncology pipeline with ViraTherapeutics acquisition

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH (Ingelheim, Germany) exercised an option to acquire oncolytic virus company ViraTherapeutics GmbH (Innsbruck, Austria). Boehringer gained the option under a 2016 deal to jointly develop ViraTherapeutics' oncolytic virus therapy platform and its lead candidate, VSV-GP.

ViraTherapeutics is developing a chimeric oncolytic virus that has so far been shown to be non-immunogenic, an issue that has limited use of the modality as a cancer therapeutic. VSV-GP pairs a potent oncolytic virus - vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) - with a different viral envelope that eliminated VSV's immunogenicity and toxicity (see "Oncolytic Improvements").

Boehringer said the acquisition will complement its growing immuno-oncology pipeline, which also includes next-generation checkpoint inhibitors and mRNA-based cancer vaccine BI 1361849, which the company in-licensed from CureVac AG (Tuebingen, Germany).

The total value of the deal is about €210 million ($243 million), according to Boehringer.

Under the 2016 deal, ViraTherapeutics was responsible for preclinical and Phase I testing of VSV-GP; Boehringer's option period began at the conclusion of Phase I testing. The companies expanded the deal in March to include a second oncolytic virus program, for which Boehringer was responsible for R&D costs.

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and EMBL Ventures co-led the first close of ViraTherapeutics' €3.6 million ($4 million) series A round in 2015.

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