OSLO, Norway, March 14, 2019 — Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage biotechnology company developing immune activators to target hard-to-treat solid tumors, today announces that it has granted a freedom-to-operate (FTO) license to Zelluna Immunotherapy for the development of mutant RAS T cell receptor (mutRAS TCRs) therapies.
Through the development of the TG neoantigen vaccine program, Targovax has established a significant patent portfolio and know-how in therapies targeting mutant RAS cancers. In addition to covering the TG vaccine program, these patents and know-how are also highly relevant in T cell therapy.
Zelluna Immunotherapy has built a portfolio of validated mutRAS TCRs isolated from long-term cancer survivors treated with first generation TG mutRAS vaccines. Targovax has agreed to out-license Targovax patents and know-how to Zelluna to enable the development of Zelluna’s mutRAS TCRs and create a stronger joint position in the mutRAS TCR field. In addition, the companies have signed a letter of intent to establish an R&D collaboration for the discovery and development of additional novel mutRAS TCR products.
Under the license agreement, Zelluna has been granted a global, non-exclusive license to relevant Targovax patents and know-how, for which Targovax will be compensated financially. The potential deal value amounts to NOK 100 million in milestones and annual fees, in addition to royalties on sales and sub-licensing revenues. Zelluna will retain full rights to, and freedom to operate (FTO) for, its portfolio of mutRAS TCRs and will be responsible for the development of these.
Øystein Soug, CEO of Targovax, said: “Our unique TG technology has already demonstrated a clinical benefit by generating immune responses to RAS driver mutations, and we remain committed to developing mutRAS vaccines in the currently underserved mutant RAS cancer indications. Additionally, we are confident that our proprietary technology and know-how has potential application in the parallel field of T cell therapy; itself a rapidly evolving novel class of immunotherapies. The intention of joining forces with Zelluna, will be strengthening the ability to develop a portfolio of mutRAS TCR products to be applied in T cell therapy, which will complement our TG vaccine development and further solidify Targovax’s strong position as the leader in mutRAS targeted immunotherapy”.
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