CircRNA pipeline and next generation ONCOS viruses
The recent success of adenoviral technology in the Covid-19 vaccine space has strengthened the rationale to fully exploit the capability of the ONCOS technology as a delivery system for targeted genetic payloads. Emerging clinical data from Targovax and others indicate that adenovirus is a superior oncolytic vector, particularly when compared to herpes and vaccinia-based approaches.
Targovax has initiated a research program into the recently discovered area of circular RNA. CircRNA is an emerging therapeutic class that offers several important advantages over classical RNA approaches, including enhanced chemically stability and longer half-life. In January 2022, Targovax appointed circRNA co-discoverer and pioneer Dr Thomas B Hansen as VP Research to drive this program, in close collaboration with the research team of Prof. Michael Uhlin at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
Targovax also has a portfolio of novel ONCOS viruses in pre-clinical development, both in-house and through multiple collaboration with partners. In the second generation ONCOS viruses, the DNA payload capacity of the backbone has been increased beyond ONCOS-102 to include multiple transgenes. The first pre-clinical results from the ONCOS-200 series, demonstrated clear anti-cancer activity and mechanistic synergism between the two transgene payloads. Various ONCOS programs are being tested in collaboration with external partners. These encouraging observations are being further investigated to elucidate transgene functionality and mechanism of action in vivo.
In summary, Targovax has a strong and innovative pipeline of both in-house and partnered pre-clinical research programs, which will be an important focus area in the short- to mid-term to expand and demonstrate the broader potential of ONCOS as a flexible, immune stimulatory, clinically validated delivery platform