Omnis Pharma, Inc. and Magnis Therapeutics, LLC, have announced their strategic merger to form Vyriad, a clinical-stage oncolytic immunovirotherapy development company. The combined companies' product development pipeline encompasses multiple clinical-stage and late preclinical-stage products targeting a broad range of human cancer indications, including a Phase 1 development program partnered with a large pharmaceutical company. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
"I am delighted to announce the completion of this merger, which consolidates two leading oncolytic platforms, a broad intellectual property portfolio, a strong collaborative research and development network, and a vibrant clinical-stage product pipeline that spans the cancer spectrum," said Stephen J. Russell, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Vyriad. "Given our broad clinical and advanced preclinical portfolio, product development engine, and scientific capabilities, I firmly believe that Vyriad is on course to become the leading oncolytic virotherapy company creating powerful new immunotherapies for patients with cancer."
The combined company results in:
- A robust pipeline encompassing eight oncolytic virotherapies in clinical development and seven in late-stage preclinical development: Vyriad's lead programs include Phase 2 product candidates in ovarian cancer and multiple myeloma, and Phase 1 programs in glioblastoma, mesothelioma, head and neck cancer, blood cancers, endometrial cancer, hematologic malignancies, and gastrointestinal cancer. The company's seven pre-IND programs include initiatives that pair oncolytic vaccines with other cancer immunotherapy approaches such as checkpoint inhibitors, as well as other forms of cancer therapy such as chemotherapy.
- Validated, industry-leading oncolytic virotherapy platforms: Vyriad unites vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and measles virus platforms licensed from Mayo Clinic, the University of Miami, and Yale University School of Medicine following more than 15 years of intensive research to identify the most promising oncolytic viruses based on selectivity, mechanism of action, and potency. In 2014, Vyriad's Oncolytic Measles virus demonstrated successful treatment of a patient with multiple myeloma who had previously undergone 10 years of unsuccessful treatment and exhausted all traditional treatment options, and who remains disease-free two years following treatment.
- Partnerships: Vyriad partnership agreements include a licensing agreement with MedImmune/AstraZeneca focused on pairing Vyriad's oncolytic VSV virus with a checkpoint inhibitor created by MedImmune; and a collaborative research and development agreement with Profectus BioSciences focused on developing oncolytic recombinant VSV vaccines for cancer immunotherapy.
- Expertise: Vyriad was founded by a passionate team of researchers and clinicians with extensive expertise in development and translation of novel oncolytic therapies for the treatment of cancer.
The combined company will be led by the existing Omnis and Magnis management teams, with Stephen Russell, MD, PhD, serving as President and CEO. Dr. Russell is a Professor of Molecular Medicine and Consultant Hematologist at Mayo Clinic Rochester. He was formerly the Dean for Discovery and Experimental Research across Mayo Clinic and the founder of Cambridge Genetics, a drug discovery company that succeeded through a series of mergers. Dr. Russell is credited with orchestrating the first-in-human testing of oncolytic measles and vesicular stomatitis viruses.