- The Collaboration will Accelerate the Research and Development of Next-generation Immuno-Oncology Therapies -
PITTSBURGH, PA and TOKYO, December 7, 2020 – KaliVir Immunotherapeutics LLC (CEO: Helena Chaye, Ph.D., J.D., “KaliVir”) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., “Astellas”) announced today that they entered into a worldwide licensing agreement for the research, development, and commercialization of VET2-L2, an intravenously administered oncolytic virus for Immuno-Oncology, as well as a research collaboration to generate a Second Product, a follow-on virus.
KaliVir holds its unique technology platform based on genetically modified vaccinia virus, and is developing VET2-L2, an oncolytic vaccinia virus as their lead program. VET2-L2, which is delivered by intravenous administration, reaches and destroys cancer cells and activates anti-cancer immunity through expression of therapeutic transgenes. KaliVir’s vaccinia virus-based oncolytic viral immunotherapies can be delivered intravenously to cancer patients, eliminating the need for complicated procedures of the direct intra-tumoral administration and enables access for a broader patient population. VET2-L2 is in preclinical stage.
This collaboration, which combines KaliVir's expertise in the development of oncolytic viruses with Astellas' capabilities in advanced drug development and its global business experience, will enable both parties to develop new Immuno-Oncology therapies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas will pay to KaliVir up to US$56 million in the form of an upfront payment and other payments to support research and preclinical activities related to VET2-L2 and the Second Product. Additionally, Astellas may pay up to US$307 million and up to US$271 million for development, regulatory and commercialization of VET2-L2 and Second Product, respectively. Astellas also may make royalty payments on net sales of each licensed product.
“We are thrilled that Astellas has chosen KaliVir, and specifically VET2-L2, our lead product candidate, to add to their oncology program. VET2-L2, a multi-mechanistic, intravenously-delivered oncolytic vaccinia virus, has demonstrated strong precinical data prompting us to plan our initial clinical trial for VET2-L2,” said KaliVir CEO Helena Chaye, Ph.D., J.D. “With Astellas’ excellent track record for drug development and commercialization, we believe that their commitment to collaborating with KaliVir represents strong third-party validation for our VET platform. We are commited to bringing this exciting product to cancer patients and believe that our collaboration with Astellas will expedite our ability to do this.”
Naoki Okamura, Representative Director, Corporate Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Financial Officer, at Astellas said, "We, at Astellas, have positioned Immuno-Oncology as one of the Primary Focuses of our R&D strategy, and we are committed to developing the next generation of Immuno-Oncology therapies through new modalities and technologies. Oncolytic viruses are one of the therapies in which we are particularly focused as we strive to provide new options for patients who have no effective treatment options. We expect this KaliVir collaboration to enhance our pipeline and further expand our cancer treatment options as we work to develop innovative medical solutions that turn innovative science into VALUE for patients.”
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