Valo Therapeutics Acquires University of Helsinki´s technology that capitalizes on pre-existing immunity acquired via childhood vaccination programs to potentiate the efficacy of cancer treatment
Helsinki, Finland, 6th January 2022: Valo Therapeutics Oy (ValoTx), the developer of novel, adaptable immunotherapy platforms for cancer and infectious diseases, today announced the acquisition of intellectual property rights from the University of Helsinki, Finland, for the proprietary technology which utilises pre-existing immunity (PEI) against pathogens to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of ValoTx´s lead platform, PeptiCRAd.
This innovative approach takes advantage of existing acquired immunity (generated, for example, through vaccination against pathogens) by including pathogen specific peptides into the company’s PeptiCRAd platform. PEI technology utilizes the body´s immunological memory and helps generate a faster and stronger immune response in the tumour micro-environment, with the aim of enhancing the overall therapeutic efficacy of PeptiCRAd.
In well-established immunological tumour animal models, pre-immunisation with tetanus specific peptides significantly enhanced responses following subsequent vaccination with tumour-peptide coated oncolytic Adenoviruses; ValoTx’s PeptiCRAd technology, in combination with anti-PD1. The enhanced response was seen both in terms of T-cell response and significantly better tumour control. Three quarters of the animals treated in this way experienced complete inhibition of tumour growth.
Combining this approach with Valo’s PeptiCRAd technology could further enhance the immunological and tumour response across a range of cancers.
ValoTx’s highly experienced immunotherapy development team, lead by CSO Dr Sari Pesonen, is poised to commence a Phase 1 study using PeptiCRAd-1, a conditional replicating adenovirus incorporating OX40 ligand and CD40 ligand, coated with tumour specific antigens NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-A3, in three indications; melanoma, triple negative breast cancer and NSCLC.
Paul Higham, CEO of ValoTx, commented, “We have a strong and enduring innovation partnership with the University of Helsinki. This successful IP acquisition is part of our goal to strengthen and optimise our immunotherapy platforms, which have wide applicability in immuno-oncology, personalised cancer treatments and vaccines.”
Professor Vincenzo Cerullo, Professor of Biological Drug Development, Head of the Drug Research Program, and Group Leader at the world leading IVTLab at the University of Helsinki, said, “The PEI technology, developed at the University of Helsinki, is clearly synergistic with ValoTx’s core PeptiCRAd technology and opens up possibilities to successfully treat even more challenging, less immuno-responsive tumor types in the future”.
Dr Sari Pesonen, CSO of Valo added “These are exciting times for ValoTx. We are ready to test the potency of PeptiCRAd in humans and our team is keen to simultaneously start developing our next generation PeptiCRAds by building in PEI technology”
PeptiCRAd is an innovative way of combining the best features of two clinically proven cancer immunotherapy approaches: advanced oncolytic adenoviruses and tumour-specific peptide vaccines. PeptiCRAd uses tumour-replication specific oncolytic viruses as active carriers of tumor-specific peptides to direct the immune system to specifically target and kill cancer cells.
Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd, an innovation and commercialisation company owned by the University of Helsinki, managed the patent protection of the intellectual property rights for PEI and the commercial negotiations with ValoTx.
Valo Therapeutics Oy (Helsinki) is an immunotherapy company that is developing antigen-coated oncolytic viruses and vaccine vectors as therapeutic vaccines against cancer and infectious disease. The ValoTx lead platform, PeptiCRAd (Peptide-coated Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus), was developed out of the laboratory of Professor Vincenzo Cerullo at the University of Helsinki. It turns advanced oncolytic adenoviruses into targeted tissue specific cancer vaccines without the need to generate and manufacture multiple genetically modified viruses. The company is also developing PeptiENV and PeptiVAX, utilising neoantigen strategies, in collaboration with Professor Cerullo. PeptiENV is expected to improve the therapeutic response to oncolytic enveloped viruses in the treatment of multiple forms of cancer, while PeptiVAX is a program to develop a novel, adaptable anti-infectives vaccination platform. The lead PeptiVAX project is a T-cell pan-Coronavirus vaccine. A film explaining the PeptiCRAd technology can be found here.
Valo Therapeutics Oy
Scius Communications (for ValoTx)