Biotech Startup Vyriad Graduates from Mayo Clinic Incubator to Larger Space

Biotech Startup Vyriad Graduates from Mayo Incubator to Larger Space April 13, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Biotech startup Vyriad Inc. has outgrown its incubator roots at the Mayo Clinic and has leased a 25,000 square-foot facility with lab and office space in Rochester, Minn.

Vyriad, which develops oncolytic virus therapies for the treatment of cancers, has taken over space formerly occupied by IBM , Twin Cities Business reported Wednesday. Vyriad is the brainchild of Stephen Russell, the director of the Mayo Clinic’s molecular medicine program. He currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of the company. Although the company launched in 2012 using research developed by Russell, Vyriad moved into the Mayo Clinic Business in 2014 as “part of an effort to spark a self-sustaining bio-business scene in Rochester,” TC Business reported. Russell is credited with orchestrating the first-in-human testing of oncolytic measles and vesicular stomatitis viruses.

The move to the new site has not yet been finalized and is awaiting the completion of financing, Russel told Twin Cities Business. He said the move was necessary to expand the company’s clinical work and it has need of its own manufacturing capabilities to build its own viruses within its labs.

The company began as Omnis Pharma, but last year it merged with Magnis Therapeutics to form Vyriad. The two companies combined their pipelines to include Phase II product candidates in ovarian cancer and multiple myeloma, and Phase I programs in glioblastoma, mesothelioma, head and neck cancer, blood cancers, endometrial cancer, hematologic malignancies, and gastrointestinal cancer. Vyriad also has seven pre-IND programs that include the pairing of oncolytic vaccines with other cancer immunotherapy approaches such as checkpoint inhibitors and standard chemotherapy treatments.

In 2015 Vyriad, operating as Omnis, struck a deal with MedImmune , a subsidiary of AstraZeneca , to commercialize oncolytic virus therapies by pairing them with AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy drug candidates, Twin Cities Business said.

Vyriad's oncolytic immunovirotherapy products are based on the company's engineered Oncolytic Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) and Oncolytic Measles Virus platforms that enable selective destruction of cancer cells without harming normal tissues. In August 2016, the startup struck a deal with another Rochester-based company, Imanis Life Sciences, to develop in vitro and in vivo theranostic tests that assess the probability that a cancer patient will be responsive to Vyriad's oncolytic virus therapeutics.

Also in August 2016, Vyriad signed a licensing agreement with Florida-based StingInn, LLC to use that company’s cyclic GMP-AMP Synthase STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) oncolytic virus technology with Vyriad’s oncolytic virotherapy product candidates for the treatment of advanced-stage cancers.

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