John Beadle and the big research team at PsiOxus have thought a lot about infiltrating the ranks of cancer cells, to go inside cells to cause their self-destruction with one of the industry’s leading “unarmed” oncolytc virus programs. But they’re also going one big step further, using their gene therapy tech to penetrate these cells to deliver weapons for their mass destruction. And they’re lining up some powerhouse allies at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy to speed the work.
PsiOxus — with 95 mostly research staffers in Oxford and Philadelphia — gained considerable attention for its systemic approach to delivering oncolytic viruses, infecting cells that would then burst, attracting T cells into the tumor. But there are also scores of oncolytic viruses in the pipeline. In this case they’re working a reverse strategy to CAR-T. Instead of modifying the T cell to go after cancer cells, they’re modifying the cancer cells to get them to engage with T cells — engineering the cancer cell to express T cell engaging ligands.