CHANDLER, Ariz. – August 28, 2019 – The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) today announced that OncoMyx Therapeutics, Inc.has been named an AZBio Fast Lane Company and will be honored on October 2, 2019 at the AZBio Awards.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that there will be over 600,000 deaths from cancer in 2019. That is roughly two percent of the U.S population. The majority of these deaths will be caused by cancers that form into solid tumors.
NCI defines “solid tumors” as an abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Solid tumors may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Different types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas, carcinomas, and lymphomas. Leukemias (cancers of the blood) generally do not form solid tumors.
OncoMyx, a startup launched from Arizona State University (ASU), develops oncolytic immunotherapies based on the myxoma virus (MYXV) platform to orchestrate an immune response and treat cancer. Successful immuno-oncology cancer treatment generally requires combination therapy, and oncolytic viruses have emerged as a safe and effective immuno-oncology complement. The company’s MYXV platform is poised to be a best-in-class oncolytic virus approach, and the top oncolytic virus team has assembled around MYXV to create important new therapeutic options for cancer patients. OncoMyx is currently being launched in Phoenix to test next-generation viruses in human clinical trials against a variety of human cancers.
OncoMyx was incorporated in 2018. Its founders Steve Potts, PhD, Grant McFadden, PhD and Michael Wood have a track record of building teams to advance scientific breakthroughs and create significant shareholder value.
Steve Potts is an successful Arizona-based life sciences entrepreneur, who most recently led medical affairs for Ignyta (NASDAQ: RXDX), which was acquired by Roche (OTCQX: RHHBY) in 2018 for $1.7B. “Oncolytic viruses (OV) are emerging as a new pillar of cancer care to complement the effectiveness of immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint blockade,” said Dr. Steve Potts, CEO of OncoMyx. “The best-in-class myxoma virus (MYXV) platform is the only OV in development that is collectively a non-human pathogen, inherently immuno-stimulatory, easily multi-armed, and systemically delivered. With an outstanding, experienced management team and a strong investor syndicate, we are positioned for success in driving MYXV toward clinical trials.”
Grant McFadden serves as Center Director and Professor of the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy at ASU, he has pioneered the MYXV field and is widely regarded a top oncolytic virus expert.
McFadden and his collaborators have spent the past two decades evaluating MYXV in a wide variety of tumor models. The natural target of the virus is the European rabbit, in which it causes a lethal disease. Because it only grows in rabbit cells or cancer cells, it would not infect healthy human tissue. In humans, the virus is harmless, except when it encounters a cancer cell. McFadden’s research team has successfully targeted various types of cancers.
Preclinical studies in mice and testing on cancer patient samples from Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale have demonstrated encouraging immune responses against tumors. These data points build upon the continued clinical validation of OncoMyx’s platform to expand the boundaries of cancer treatment and potentially benefit a large group of patients.
In June of 2019, OncoMyx announced the completion of a $25 million series A financing led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), Delos Capital, and Xeraya Capital with participation from Korea Investment Partners (KIP), City Hill Ventures, and Madison Partners. ASU reported that the $25 million invested in OncoMyx is the largest amount of series A funding raised for any ASU spinout.
“We invested in OncoMyx because we believe in the potential of the myxoma-based oncolytic viruses for the treatment of solid cancers,” said Dr. Kanad Das, Executive Director of Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. “We look forward to working with the team to develop drugs that help improve patients’ lives across a range of malignancies.”
OncoMyx plans to use the proceeds of the $25 million investment to advance development of its MYXV therapeutic program and advance additional programs into development.
Competitively selected and awarded each year, the AZBio Fast Lane Award recognizes the select few companies that have achieved outstanding milestones in the past 18 months. Significant progress can be measured by clinical results, regulatory approvals, certifications, collaborations, funding awards, product launches, job growth or product sales milestones.
About the AZBio Awards
A key component of Arizona Bioscience Week, The AZBio Awards & Life Science Fiesta brings together Arizona’s life science and leadership community with visitors from around the country to celebrate life-science innovation and innovators. The AZBio Awards takes place on the evening of October 2, 2019 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Highlights of the evening will include honoring the honorable Jane Dee Hull, 20th Governor of the State of Arizona with the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement and a celebration of the achievements of leading researchers, educators, and innovator companies. The Life Science Fiesta following the award ceremony features a Student Discovery Zone that showcases the work of fifty students from Arizona high schools, community colleges, and universities along with exhibits featuring Arizona companies and patient advocacy organizations.
Arizona Bioscience Week, including the AZBio Awards & Life Science Fiesta, are presented by AZBio and the Arizona Commerce Authority.
For more information on the 2019 AZBio Awards, visit www.azbioawards.com
For more information on Arizona Bioscience Week, visit www.AZBio.org/AZBW2019
For 16 years, the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) has supported life science innovation and life science innovators in Arizona. A key component in Arizona’s life science ecosystem, AZBio is the only statewide organization exclusively focused on Arizona’s bioscience industry. AZBio membership includes patient advocacy organizations, life science innovators, educators, healthcare partners and leading business organizations. AZBio is the statewide affiliate of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and works in partnership with AdvaMed, MDMA, and PhRMA to advance innovation and to ensure that the value delivered from life-changing and life-saving innovation benefits people in Arizona and around the world.
Joan Koerber-Walker, Arizona Bioindustry Association