Norwegian biotech company Targovax is in full swing with preparations for phase II studies with the drug candidate ONCOS-102. Following this spring’s collaboration agreement with American Agenus, the company is now selling its GM-CSF project to sector colleague Hubro Therapeutics for 10 MNOK. Hubro is taking over the project in its entirety in order to use in the development of its peptide-based cancer vaccines.
Oslo-based Targovax is an immuno-oncology company that develops drug candidates that activate the immune system in the fight against difficult-to-treat solid tumours. The main candidate ONCOS-102 is currently being prepared for a phase II study in melanoma where it will be evaluated in combination with a PD1 inhibitor.
Another project, TG01, develops a cancer vaccine that targets mutated so-called RAS genes, a driving factor in several cancer indications. In TG01, Targovax has previously used the GM-CSF immunomodulator as an adjuvant component, but after entering into a clinical collaboration with the American immuno-oncology company Agenus, it has changed to using Agenus’ adjuvant QS-21 STIMULON.
Sells project to sector colleague
Targovax has now announced that it is selling the GM-CSF project to Norwegian sector colleague Hubro Therapeutics for 10 MNOK.
“With the switch to QS-21 STIMULON from our collaboration partner Agenus as the adjuvant of choice for the next generation mutant RAS TG vaccines, Targovax is no longer prioritizing further investments into GM-CSF development. We are delighted that Hubro will now take over the GM-CSF adjuvant project and this deal shows that we can create value from non-strategic assets”, Targovax’s Chief Financial Officer Dr. Lubor Gaal states in a press release.
Aiming to have a product in clinical trials by 2024
Hubro Therapeutics is a privately owned biotech company that develops diagnosis and vaccines targeted towards colon cancer, gastric cancer and endometrial cancer where there is microsatellite instability. With the company taking over the GM-CSF project, which will be a key component of its own technology platform, the continued development of the product is secured.
Hubro Therapeutics aims to have a proprietary GM-CSF product in clinical testing as an adjuvant to its peptide-based cancer vaccines in 2024.
Jon Amund Eriksen, CEO at Hubro, writes:
“For the commercial development of our therapeutic and prophylactic cancer vaccines it is important for us to have full control over production and supply of all pharmaceutical active components, including GM-CSF. We are therefore delighted for having the opportunity to take over the GM-CSF development project from Targovax, which will provide significant savings of development costs and time towards obtaining the high-quality product we need for pivotal clinical development and later marketing of our cancer vaccines.”