|[February 20, 2013]
RVC Biofund Portfolio Company to Contribute to Development of Cancer Therapy
MOSCOW --(Business Wire)--
The investment committee of RVC Biofund has approved the investment in
Andrus Reo, a recently established startup which will conduct phase III
clinical trials for an antineoplastic drug in Russia and the CIS. The
Reovirus based anti-cancer drug, which is being jointly developed with
Oncolytics Biotech Inc. of Canada, targets the treatment of head and
neck malignant tumors as well as pancreatic cancer. The investment in
Andrus Reo in addition to supporting the phase II clinical trials will
also assist with further registration of the drug.
According to the Russian Federation Ministry of Health, the rate of
pancreatic cancer has been steadily increasing for the last two decades.
Pancreatic cancer was diagnosed at 9.05 cases per 100,000 individuals in
2000, 10.59 cases per 100,000 in 2011, and is expected to reach 11 cases
per 100,000 by 2015. The survival rate of pancreatic cancer remains one
of the lowest in oncology due to lack of effective treatment. While the
statistics concerning head and neck malignant tumor statistics are not
as severe, they continue to be a significant concern of the Russian
people and burden on the Russian healthcare system.
"Despite considerable achievements in the last 30 years in chemotherapy
the problem of new malignant neoplasms therapy is still of acute
interest and the attention of venture investors to develop and market
projects of new antineoplastic medication is growing as well. This
unprecedented project, launched by Andrus Ltd. and RVC Biofund in
cooperation with Oncolytics Biotech Inc., involves unique scientific and
experimental foundation of the Canadian company and advanced clinical
research data. The transfer of innovative developments at such a stage
is an unparalleled precedent for the Russian pharmaceutical R&D sector,"
said Egor Beketov, Director of RVC Biofund. "We hope to make this drug
available for Russian patients and significantly improve their the
quality of life as well as lay the groundwork for the new development of
products on the basis of oncolytic viruses"
The development is a Reovirus which selectively infects ad destroys the
cells with activated RAS pathway. Hyperactivation of the RAS signaling
pathway is the root cause of many cancers (up to 30 % of all carcinomas)
and is found in metastases in 85-90 % of all cases. Tumors bearing an
activated RAS pathway are deficient in their ability to activate an
anti-viral response mediated by the host cellular protein, PKR. Since
PKR is responsible for preventing reovirus replication, tumor cells that
lack the activity of PKR are susceptible to Reovirus infection and
eventual cell death. As normal cells do not possess RAS activation,
these cells are able to thwart Reovirus infection by the activity of PKR.
"The drug is a proprietary formulation of the human Reovirus and is a
key development of Oncolytics Biotech Inc. We carry out multi-center
randomized clinical studies of this drug for a variety of indicators in
oncology and hope the development of a commercial product will improve
the efficiency of treatment of a wide range of malignant neoplasms.
Cooperation with RVC Biofund and Andrus Ltd provides us a unique
opportunity to market the product both in Russia and the CIS countries,"
said Brad Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Oncolytics Biotech Inc.
Konstantin Chernov, General Director of Andrus Reo added, "The medicine
targets a wide range of tumors and has a potential to become a
blockbuster in its segment. Limited (compared to traditional
chemotherapy) side effects and unique mechanism of action allows the
combination of the drug with different anti-neoplastic agents thus
increasing the efficacy of treatment with excellent tolerability. The
effects were proven in a cycle of phase II clinical trials of different
cancers, including head and neck cancer."
About RVC Biofund
The Venture fund of RVC Biofund is a subsidiary of RVC, a $1B Fund of
Funds in Russia. RVC Biofund's investment focus covers both innovative
biopharmaceutical companies and service companies that provide contract
laboratory, analytical and consulting services to the biotechnological,
pharmaceutical and medical companies. RVC Biofund's Board has now so far
approved 6 investment projects in companies in the biopharmaceutical and
About Andrus Ltd.
Andrus Ltd is dedicated to creating a novel Russian biopharmaceutical
platform by bridging the gap between novel biopharmaceutical
technologies and the Russian Healthcare market. Through partnering with
leading development companies and leveraging Andrus' domestic operations
the Company is able to build a healthcare platform based on pioneering
science and best in class drug development.
About Oncolytics Biotech Inc.
Oncolytics Biotech Inc. is focused on the development of oncolytic
viruses for use as cancer therapeutics. The Company's lead product,
REOLYSIN®, a proprietary formulation of the human Reovirus, is currently
in late stage (Phase III) clinical testing in head and neck cancers.
REOLYSIN® has been utilized in nearly thirty clinical trials including
translational, Phase I, Phase II (single arm and randomized), and Phase
III studies in a broad range of cancer indications.
For more details: http://www.oncolyticsbiotech.com.
RVC is a government fund of funds and a development institute of the
Russian Federation; since 2006 it has been one of Russia's key tools in
building its own national innovation economy. RVC invests government
capital through VC funds that it creates in partnership with private
investors. RVC has backed 12 funds (including two funds outside Russia)
with a total capitalization of RUB 26 bln (about US$860 mln), its share
amounting to RUB 16 bln (about US$530 mln). As of February 2013,
RVC-backed funds hold a portfolio of 139 companies, with invested
capital totaling RUB 12.1 billion (about US$405 mln).
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