Lokon and Biovian sign manufacturing agreement for cancer therapy

The agreement covers the development and manufacturing of the viral vector LOAd703 at Biovian’s facility in Turku, Finland

Lokon Pharma, a company developing cancer therapeutics, has selected Biovian as a CDMO partner for GMP manufacturing of LOAd703 for a randomised study. The engineered LOAd703 oncolytic virus is currently being evaluated in the treatment of pancreatic, ovarian, colorectal, and biliary cancer as well as malignant melanoma.

The agreement covers the development and manufacturing of the viral vector LOAd703 at Biovian’s facility in Turku, Finland. Aseptic filling, stability studies, and release for clinical use are also covered under the service agreement. The mutual intent is to continue the partnership during the potential commercial stage.

LOAd703 is Lokon’s first cancer therapeutic being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, as well as of ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, biliary cancer and melanoma. It is based on the company’s proprietary LOAd technology, which is used in a family of armed oncolytic viruses that can activate the body’s immune system to identify, seek out and destroy cancer cells, according to the company.

The immunostimulatory gene therapy for cancer with LOAd703 utilises adenovirus (adenovirus serotype 5/35) which is genetically engineered to express immunostimulatory genes in malignant tumours and tumour stroma. Therefore, Lokon claims, the therapy holds potential for treating cancer types for which there are no targeted, or only limited, treatment options. The LOAd703 therapy is intended for use in combination with other cancer therapeutics, including chemotherapy.

Angelica Loskog, PhD, CEO, Board of Directors of Lokon Pharma said: “We are very pleased that we have found an experienced CDMO partner for the development and manufacturing of our LOAd703 viral vector when proceeding into more advanced clinical trials. There is a lack of effective treatment for pancreatic cancer. Immunostimulatory gene therapy holds the potential to provide better treatment to those patients. Finding a CDMO partner that understands our needs and can support us with both clinical and commercial manufacturing is an important step in reaching our goals.”

Knut Ringbom, CEO of Biovian said: “We are delighted that Lokon Pharma has selected us as a partner for GMP manufacturing of their novel molecule with a great potential to help cancer patients worldwide. Biovian has been developing and manufacturing viral vector processes since 2004, and we are happy to provide our expertise in Adenovirus vectors for the manufacturing of LOAd703. By having One-Stop-Shop services and a commercial license for manufacturing of gene therapy products we can serve Lokon Pharma when they take their valuable molecule through the clinical phases and onto the market.”