Targovax to rebrand as Circio, an innovator in next generation circular RNA therapeutics

  • The name Circio encapsulates the strategic shift to focus on the innovative, proprietary circular RNA (circRNA) platform
  • circRNA has the potential to outperform mRNA, and Circio’s pipeline is initially targeting cancer, with plans to rapidly expand into vaccines and gene therapy
  • International patent applications covering Circio’s vector delivery technology and the therapeutic concept in cancer have been filed
  • Circio Holding ASA will assume the Targovax ASA listing on Oslo stock exchange under the ticker CRNA

Oslo, Norway, 19 April 2023 – Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX) today announces its intention to rebrand the company as Circio to reflect its strategic shift to focus on accelerating development of its proprietary and innovative circular RNA (circRNA) platform. Subject to shareholder approvals at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 22 May 2023, Circio Holding ASA will assume the group’s listing on the Oslo stock exchange under the ticker CRNA.

The name Circio reflects our ambition to become a leader in circRNA, as well as the company´s heritage in immuno-oncology. CircRNA’s promise is demonstrated by an increasing number of circRNA financings, which accounted for more than 40% of private RNA biotech deal value globally in 2021-22, and by major strategic agreements by big pharma and biotech. With the rebranding to Circio, we are aiming to take a clear position in the emerging circRNA field and maximize our visibility and attractiveness to the global pharmaceutical industry and specialist international investors,” Damian Marron, Chairman, said.

 “circRNA offers important functional advantages over mRNA. Based on extensive experience, our leading circRNA scientists have invented a clearly differentiated vector system to generate circRNA in target tissues. Using this strategy, we can turn host cells into circRNA factories, thus providing an expanded toolbox of therapeutic options compared to current circRNA and mRNA approaches. In less than 15 months, we have established robust technical proof-of-concept for our approach, and key patent applications have been filed. Therefore, now is the right time to clearly signal our evolution into a circRNA-focused company” Dr. Erik Digman Wiklund, CEO, commented.

CircRNA is a naturally occurring class of RNA first reported in 2011 by two current Circio employees: VP & Head of Research Dr. Thomas B Hansen and CEO Dr. Erik D Wiklund. Due to their chemical structure, circRNAs are resistant to the main cellular RNA degradation mechanisms, which dramatically prolongs their half-life compared to linear mRNA. This feature can enable increased and more durable protein expression, as well as novel regulatory functionalities. Circio has an ambitious R&D strategy to engineer novel circRNA medicines for cancer, vaccines, and genetic disorders. The circRNA R&D activities are being conducted in the wholly owned subsidiary Circio AB based at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Circio’s proprietary circVec platform is a modular genetic cassette delivering instructions for generation of multifunctional circRNAs. The most advanced therapeutic concept, circAde, builds on the company´s experience in oncolytic viruses to use engineered adenoviruses for delivery of circRNA to cancer cells. The circVec and circAde technology is protected by deep know-how and a rapidly expanding IP portfolio.

Circio remains committed to the ONCOS and TG programs. The KRAS immunotherapy TG01 is currently being tested in two clinical trials in pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma through collaborative networks in the USA and Norway. A phase 2 study design combining ONCOS-102 with next generation checkpoint inhibitors in treatment resistant melanoma has been approved by the US FDA, and will, as previously communicated, be initiated once additional funding or a partner has been secured.

The renaming of Targovax ASA to Circio Holding ASA will be subject to shareholder approval at the annual general meeting (AGM) to be held on 22 May 2023 and formally enacted following such approval.

For further information, please contact:
Erik Digman Wiklund, CEO
Phone: +47 413 33 536
Email: erik.wiklund@circio.com

Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624
Email: renate.birkeli@circio.com

Media enquires:
Andreas Tinglum – Corporate Communications (Norway)
Phone: +47 9300 1773
Email: andreas.tinglum@corpcom.no

About Targovax / Circio Holding

Targovax (OSE:TRVX), which is seeking shareholder approval to change its name to Circio Holdings ASA, is a clinical stage company developing immune activators to target difficult-to-treat diseases. The company’s mission is to deploy vector-based technology to create a novel class of targeted, multi-functional circRNA medicines. It has established a cutting-edge circular RNA (circRNA) program and is collaborating with Prof Michael Uhlin and a team at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm with the intent to develop next generation RNA therapeutics for various applications.

The company also has a mutant RAS cancer vaccine program, with two collaborative clinical trials underway in the USA and Norway. It is currently looking at options for the financing of a phase 2 study for ONCOS-102, a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus.