by Joe Carlson
Vyriad, a company in southeastern Minnesota that is designing viruses to selectively kill cancer cells, has signed a major agreement with the biotech drugmaker Regeneron to collaborate on a drug therapies to target melanoma and cancers of the lung, liver and uterus. A Vyriad spokesman said the agreement would lead to a doubling of the 20-person workforce that Vyriad and its "sister" company, Imanis Life Sciences, share in Rochester. Vyriad has a close relationship with Mayo, using intellectual property licensed from Mayo Clinic and having been co-founded by Mayo researcher Dr. Stephen Russell, who founded the clinic's Molecular Medicine Department and built an oncolytic virotherapy program there.
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Context: Stephen Russell, M.D. Ph.D. is a Mayo Clinic hematologist and internist. Dr. Russell's research focuses on demonstrating the value of oncolytic virotherapy as a new modality for the treatment of cancer. Viruses from several families are engineered in Dr. Russell's laboratory. His team currently has oncolytic projects focusing on measles, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), coxsackievirus A21 (CVA21) and Mengo virus. Nonreplicative adeno-associated viruses, lentivirus and adenovirus vectors also are used extensively. Vyriad is a clinical-stage company developing proprietary oncolytic virus therapies for the treatment of cancers with significant unmet needs. Dr. Russell serves as president and CEO of Vyriad.
Contact: Bob Nellis