B-I working with CMO on viral therapies after $245m ViraTherapeutics buy

Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired ViraTherapeutics for €210 million ($245 million) and tells us how it will integrate the viral therapy firm into its oncology business.

In September 2016, German biomanufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim partnered with Austrian based ViraTherapeutics GmbH to develop an oncolytic virus therapy platform and bring various programs through the clinic.

As part of the deal, Boehringer Ingelheim had the right to acquire its collaborator after the conclusion of Phase I clinical development, something the firm has now undertaken for a total of €210 million.

Boehringer Ingelheim took the option to buy partner ViraTherapeutics

Talking to BioProcess Insider, a Boehringer Ingelheim spokesperson said the deal follows promising results by lead candidate VSV-GP (Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) with modified glycoprotein (GP)) “in pre-clinical models, especially in combination with key immune modulatory principles Boehringer Ingelheim is developing.”

ViraTherapeutics will become a fully owned member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

“This will contribute to further advance the excellent collaboration between ViraTherapeutics and Boehringer Ingelheim scientists,” we were told, “which was at the basis of the successful development so far.

“Moving forward there will be a strong focus on innovative, explorative research on viral concepts supporting cancer immunity based treatment options and in addition even closer collaboration e.g. between the ViraTherapeutics CMC team and Boehringer Ingelheim’s development and the clinical development teams on both sides.”

Oncolytic virus therapy

Oncolytic virus therapies use a virus that infects and breaks down cancer cells, which work through the triggering of an immune response when tumor antigens that are normally hidden from the immune system inside cells are released.

According to the firm, VSV-GP has a shorter replication time than other oncolytic virus platforms currently under development. This oncolytic virus does not integrate in the DNA and has been modified to avoid neural inflammation associated with wild type viruses.

And moving forward, Boehringer Ingelheim said it is looking to a third-party manufacturer to help move the program through the clinic.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is planning to work with an experienced CMO,” the spokesperson said. “We can, however, not disclose further details at this point in time.”

Leave a Reply