MultiVir Reports Gene Therapy Enhancement of Cancer Immunotherapy


Tumor Suppressor Immune Gene Therapy Data Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy

Washington DC, May 16 – MultiVir Inc, a leading developer of gene therapies for cancer treatment, presented new data at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy demonstrating the ability of its tumor suppressor immune gene therapies to reverse resistance to cancer immunotherapies with synergistic effects that reduce tumor growth and increase survival.

These results were obtained in a melanoma animal tumor model known to be highly resistant to immunotherapy including the new class of agents termed immune checkpoint inhibitors. While immune checkpoint inhibitors represent an important breakthrough in cancer treatment, most patients do not respond to these therapies and novel approaches are needed to reverse this resistance.

MultiVir’s product candidates employ genetically engineered adenoviruses to deliver normal tumor suppressor genes termed p53 and interleukin 24 (IL-24) which were shown to reverse cancer immunotherapy resistance.

Key Findings

In the MultiVir studies, Ad-p53 and Ad-IL24 gene therapy restoration of tumor suppressor function reversed resistance to immunotherapy treatment. In this investigation, tumors were first treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors termed anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1. The tumors were shown to be resistant these treatments. In contrast, gene therapy with MultiVir’s Ad-p53 or Ad-IL24 demonstrated statistically significant decreases in tumor growth and increased survival following their administration.

While anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies have recently been approved for melanoma, lung and head and neck cancers, the majority of patients do not respond to these treatments. Importantly, combined treatment with adenoviral p53 (Ad-p53) or adenoviral IL-24 (Ad-IL24) and anti-PD-1 reversed anti-PD-1 resistance demonstrating even greater therapeutic efficacy with synergistic decreases in tumor size and increased survival.

These data indicate the fundamental role of tumor suppressors in generating anti-tumor immunity and the potential of Ad-p53 and Ad-IL24 gene therapy to restore tumor suppressor function and reverse resistance to cancer immunotherapies”, said Dr. Sunil Chada, MultiVir’s Chief Scientific Officer who presented the findings at the conference.

Dr. Robert E. Sobol, MultiVir’s CEO commented, “These results are important and support the planned clinical development of our tumor suppressor immune gene therapies in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors to potentially expand the number of patients who may benefit from cancer immunotherapies.”

MultiVir is conducting a clinical trial of its Ad-p53 tumor suppressor therapy in combination with another immune modulatory agent termed low dose, continuous capecitabine in patients with liver metastases of colorectal, lung, breast, hepatocellular, melanoma and other tumors. MultiVir plans to amend this clinical protocol to include treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors supported by the data presented at the conference.

About MultiVir’s Tumor Suppressor Immune Gene Therapies

MultiVir’s product candidates have unique therapeutic activities with multiple mechanisms of action. MultiVir’s tumor suppressor gene therapies have the ability to inhibit tumor growth, kill cancerous cells, enhance anti-tumor immunity, decrease tumor blood supply, and the potential to sensitize tumors to conventional immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In clinical trials to date, the products have been generally well-tolerated, with only transient adverse effects.

About MultiVir Inc.

MultiVir is a clinical stage immune oncology company pioneering a new field of cancer therapeutics termed tumor suppressor immune gene therapy employing multiple viral delivery platforms. MultiVir’s oncology products deliver tumor suppressor and immunotherapeutic genes. The company’s broad technology platforms target cancers’ most fundamental and common molecular defects.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are generally statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements made herein are based on management’s current plans, estimates, assumptions and projections, and speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in light of new information or future events, except as otherwise required by law. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict. The actual results may differ materially from those contained in our projections or forward-looking statements.