Western Oncolytics Closes $2.5M Series A to Advance Cancer Immunotherapy
CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwired - Jun 22, 2015) - Western Oncolytics, a cutting-edge biotechnology company developing a best-in-class oncolytic immunotherapy, has completed a $2.5 million Series A round of funding. The funding will be used to complete preclinical development of its lead therapy, the WO-12. The WO-12 is designed to deliver multiple immunotherapies in one, while itself selectively infecting and countering cancer. It holds promise to offer significantly greater safety and efficacy to a wide range of solid tumor cancer patients compared to existing treatments.
The WO-12 is based on the vaccinia virus, the vaccine that eradicated smallpox. It has been engineered to replicate selectively in only cancer cells, killing them, while drawing an immune response to tumors. Importantly, it has also been modified to express added genes that both specifically activate cancer-fighting T-cells and remove immune inhibition in the tumor environment, two therapeutic approaches that each have had recent clinical successes. The WO-12 is further modified to avoid premature clearance from the patient's anti-viral immune response, the limiting factor to oncolytic therapies. The WO-12 is unique not only in these individual therapeutic elements, but is the only known treatment that combines all of these desired elements into a single therapy.
"I am especially excited about WO-12 as a novel oncolytic immunotherapy that will be capable of simultaneously targeting cancer cells through multiple and synergistic mechanisms," explained Dr. Stephen Thorne, PhD, Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and inventor of Western Oncolytics' therapy. "It has been designed to help a wider range of patients than other oncolytic immunotherapies. It is capable of being delivered by a standard IV and it utilizes an oncolytic virus that can be active in nearly any solid tumor tissue in the human body. It also combines with other immunotherapies or traditional oncology treatments to further benefit patients."
Current data indicates WO-12 has significantly greater efficacy than earlier immuno-oncolytics, including the clinically successful GM-CSF class of therapies. In a comparison study, a WO-12 prototype achieved to 4 times long-term survival in preclinical models versus a replica of a clinically demonstrated GM-CSF oncolytic.
"Western Oncolytics will be well supported with this experienced group of private investors who bring a wealth of knowledge and share our vision," said Kurt Rote, Chief Executive Officer. "We aim to deliver this novel therapy to the clinics and change how cancer is treated for the many patients in need."