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Systemic delivery of oncolytic herpes simplex viruses retargeted to cancer-specific receptors. Virus optimization and business planning.


Solid tumors, in particular metastatic ones, represent unmet clinical needs and the second cause of death worldwide. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) kill tumors and spare normal cells. They are a distinct class of novel anti-cancer agents, frequently administered by intratumoral injection. A Holy Grail in the innovation of OVs is the possibility to administer them by systemic, e.g. intravenous injection, so that in the human body OVs search for metastases and scavenge them. The systemic delivery of OVs tackles societal challenges as it meets the needs of metastatic patients, those who die of cancer and need innovative therapies most.
The Principal Investigator has generated a family of innovative oncolytic herpesviruses (ReHVs) which specifically target HER2-positive tumors (HER2-ReHVs). In preclinical studies HER2-ReHVs exhibit high specificity for HER2-positive cancers, high anti-tumor efficacy also against metastatic tumors, vaccinate against metastatic-like tumors, and are highly safe. These properties position ReHVs for systemic delivery. The ReHV technology is protected by a portfolio of patents. The objectives of this Proposal are twofold. Firstly, to improve the systemic delivery of ReHVs by identifying the obstacles that constrain such administration, to develop novel strategies to overcome them, including high-risk high-gain modifications that make ReHVs better suited for the systemic delivery. Secondly, to carry out initiatives for the technological transfer, i.e. development and commercialization of ReHVs. These include the detailed planning of activities to take ReHVs to the authorization for a First-in-Human clinical experimentation, to develop a business plan and carry out OV market analysis and search for investors. By combining the Development and commercialization initiatives with the technological advancements, this POC is expected to achieve the broader objective of progressing ReHVs into clinical experimentation and ultimately to bring them to patients



Net EU contribution
€ 125 000,00
Via albertoni 15
40138 Bologna

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Nord-Est Emilia-Romagna Bologna
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