Melbourne, Australia 6 December 2021 – ImmVirX Pty Limited, a life sciences company focused on developing next-generation, receptor targeted oncolytic viral immunotherapies to transform outcomes for patients with some of the most prevalent and challenging cancer types, today announced the option to extend its relationship with the University of Newcastle through to December 2024.
Under the ongoing Research Services Agreement the ImmVirX team, led by Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Professor Darren Shafren, operates in world-class lab facilities at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) in Newcastle.
“We are delighted to establish security of tenure and to continue our relationship with the University of Newcastle and HMRI,” said ImmVirX CEO Dr Malcolm McColl. “Most of our team were formerly at Viralytics, a company with a long-standing presence in the excellent HMRI facility through to its acquisition by Merck and Co. Inc. in 2018.”
The success of the Viralytics collaboration culminated with the partners winning the BHERT award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development in Technology Development in 2018. The BHERT Awards are Australia's longest-running and highest-profile recognition of the outstanding partnerships involving universities.
Professor Liz Sullivan, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Newcastle said: “Winning the BHERT award reflected the success of our Viralytics partnership, and we are building upon this as ImmVirX progresses its programs, developing new oncolytic virus therapies for hard to treat cancers.”
ImmVirX is developing novel oncolytic viruses to create powerful new cancer immunotherapy combinations. Its novel oncolytic immunotherapy harnesses the power of viruses to preferentially infect and kill cancer cells and induce systemic anti-tumour immune responses.
The proprietary bio-selected RNA viruses target specific receptor proteins highly expressed on a range of cancer cell types, allowing them to selectively enter, replicate in, and destroy tumour cells while creating beneficial changes in the tumour micro-environment, potentially leading to the generation of specific innate and adaptive immune responses against cancer cells.
In this way, the viral candidates are intended to increase the effectiveness of current immunotherapies, primarily immune checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T cell therapies, in fighting cancers of high unmet need including colorectal, gastric, pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
Dr. Malcolm McColl
Acting Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder