GenVec, Inc. has formed a collaboration with TheraBiologics to develop cancer therapeutics leveraging both GenVec's proprietary gene delivery platform and TheraBiologics' proprietary neural stem cell (NSC) technology.
In exchange for an economic participation in the products being developed under the collaboration, GenVec will contribute technology, know-how, vector construction, and technical and regulatory support to the program. TheraBiologics will be responsible for all other development costs.
The initial goal of this collaboration is to generate a next-generation product candidate to TheraBiologics' TBX02. TBX02 utilizes an established NSC line engineered to express a modified carboxylesterase enzyme that converts the prodrug CPT-11 (Irinotecan) to the potent chemotherapy agent SN-38, which is 1000x more toxic to cancer cells than CPT-11. GenVec's proprietary adenovectors will be used to provide important manufacturing and potency advantages to other adenovirus-derived vectors and will utilize well-defined production methodologies that have already produced clinical trial material for over 3,000 study patients.
"NSCs offer an unprecedented advantage of therapeutic specificity over conventional cancer treatments as a result of their inherent tumor-tropic properties," stated TheraBiologics founder and chief scientific officer, Karen S. Aboody, MD. "The NSCs selectively target invasive cancer sites resulting in tumor-localized chemotherapy production, sparing the rest of the body from toxic side effects. GenVec's technology provides us with a well-validated process for modifying these cells to reach their full therapeutic potential."
"TheraBiologics has demonstrated the promise of NSC-mediated approaches to treat cancer and we believe that GenVec's technology will greatly facilitate the development of these novel treatments," stated Douglas J. Swirsky, GenVec's president and chief executive officer. "This collaboration is in line with our goal of building a pipeline of exciting opportunities that cost-effectively leverage our technology."