Themis announced today that it has entered into a license agreement with Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society in Germany, granting it exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize therapies based on an oncolytic measles virus platform that was jointly developed by the Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“This is a transformative step for the company and will broaden our immunomodulation platform into oncology. It also greatly complements our existing patent portfolio around the measles vector technology for infectious diseases,” commented Erich Tauber, CEO and founder of Themis. “We believe the long standing expertise of Prof. Ulrich Lauer’s virotherapy research group at the University Tübingen in advanced oncolytic approaches together with our measles virus product development capabilities provide a strong foundation to rapidly develop differentiated immuno-oncology therapeutics.”
The licensed technology is a modified measles virus based on the viral genome sequence of the established measles vaccine strain, which has been used to immunize billions of people worldwide. The measles virus itself has innate anti-cancer properties, for example, mediating tumor cell lysis, T cell activation and specific tumor cell targeting. Furthermore, it can also be engineered to include a tumor killing payload, making it a major building block for an effective oncolytic virus immunotherapy.
Themis established a robust cGMP manufacturing process for its measles vector technology and built a broad pipeline with both proprietary and partnered infectious disease vaccine candidates. The lead program in Chikungunya is anticipated to enter Phase 3 development in the near- to medium-term. Themis believes that today’s licensing deal with Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH will further expand its innovative technology platform to include novel oncolytic virus-based immunotherapy applications.
Themis is developing immunomodulation therapies for infectious diseases and cancer. Through advanced understanding of immune system mechanisms, the company has built a sophisticated and versatile technology platform for the discovery, development and production of vaccines as well as other immune system activation approaches. Initially focused on preventing infectious diseases, the company has demonstrated the potential of its versatile platform through the rapid progression into Phase 2 clinical development for a vaccine against Chikungunya, a debilitating disease with global outbreak potential. Funded to date by leading Europe-based VCs, Themis has also gained prestigious non-dilutive funding for emerging infectious disease indications. The company will apply its platform and commercial manufacturing capabilities to diseases with high market potential both alone and for its partners. For more information, visit http://www.themisbio.com.
About Max Planck Innovation
As a technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society, Max Planck Innovation is the link between industry and basic research. Our interdisciplinary team provides consulting and support for scientists in evaluating inventions, applying for patents, and founding companies. 134 spin-off companies have emerged from the Max Planck Society, of which the majority was accompanied by Max-Planck-Innovation. More than 3.800 jobs have been created by these companies. We offer industry a central point of access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. We thus provide the important function of converting the results of basic research into economically and socially useful products.
About University Hospital Tuebingen
Founded in 1805, the University Hospital Tuebingen is one of the leading centres of German university medicine. As one of 33 University Hospitals in Germany, it contributes to a successful combination of top-level medicine, research, and teaching.
More than 400,000 in- and outpatients from around the world benefit from this connection of science and practice each year, since the clinics, institutes, and centres unite specialists from all fields under one roof. Its experts collaborate across disciplines and offer state-of-theart research-based treatment to all patients. The University Hospital does research to improve diagnostics, therapies, and healing processes. Many new cutting-edge treatments are clinically tested and applied in Tuebingen.
A special focus lies on the independent development of innovative immunotherapies such as virotherapy, which activate the body’s own defense system effectively and durable against their tumor cells. www.medizin.uni-tuebingen.de