On Sep. 13, 2018, the German company Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) announced the acquisition of Vira Therapeutics, an oncolytic virus research and development company based in Austria. The acquisition values were at $244 million.
Boehringer Ingelheim decided 3 years ago it that would take an active role in fostering the oncolytics virus biotech ViraTherapeutics. The German company’s venture arm invested in the fledgling’s biotech’s tiny $4 million A round in the summer of 2015. BI execs came back with a $230 million discovery deal building in a buyout option, and then added a second program, of which the main target product is VSV-GP. The two parties achieved an agreement that BI has the priority acquisition rights to ViraTherapeutics after the completion of Phase I clinical trials of VSV-GP. So far, the VSV-GP project is still in the preclinical research phase.
The vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is a negative-strand RNA virus. In VSV-GP, the glycoprotein of VSV has been replaced by the glycoprotein of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), so that the virus can better cope with the clearance of the immune system. Preclinical studies have found that VSV-GP does not induce neutralizing antibodies.