The Finnish biotech company Oncos Therapeutics develops novel cancer therapies based on its next generation oncolytic viruses which kill cancer cells but are harmless to other cells. The anti-tumor immune response induced by a virus that kills cancer cells is currently seen as one of the most promising approaches to curing cancer.
Since the onset of Oncos Therapeutics’ Advanced Therapy Access Program in 2007, 200 cancer patients have undergone tailored treatment at the private Docrates Clinic in Helsinki, with 60% benefitting from the treatment, which suggests strong safety and efficacy. The viruses have only been offered to patients in cases where traditional cancer treatments like sytostates and radiation treatments have proved to be ineffective. The program is based on extensive scientific research at the University of Helsinki and serves as the foundation for the company’s ongoing clinical development.
According to Antti Vuolanto, VP Manufacturing and Co-Founder of Oncos Therapeutics , there is still a long way to go in finding a cure for cancer but the experience at the Docrates Clinic has been convincing. The Swedish venture capital fund HealthCap has invested EUR 4 million in the first stage of the clinical research into the safety of the oncolytic virus types. With committed capital exceeding EUR 800 million, HealthCap is one of the largest specialized providers of venture capital within life sciences in Europe.
It will still take years of intensive research, development and testing before the viruses can become certified medicines and treatments. The research phase requires major investment but the market potential is also huge. “We are talking about tens of billions of euros annually. The global market for cancer treatments is worth about EUR 200 billion,” says Vuolanko.
Sources: Kauppalehti, Oncos Therapeutics