Woburn, MA, Oxford, UK, December 7, 2016 – Replimune Ltd announced today that Dr. Robert Coffin, Ph.D., its founder and CEO, has been honored with the 43rd Annual Inventor of the Year Award by the IPO Education Foundation. Dr. Coffin received the award in Washington D.C. .Dr. Coffin’s invention, now Amgen’s IMLYGIC, is the first in the class of oncolytic immunotherapy drugs to receive marketing approval anywhere in the world. IMLYGIC is designed to replicate in cancer cells leading to oncolysis, whereby the release of tumor derived antigens, virally derived GM-CSF, and replicated IMLYGIC produce potent antitumor immune responses. As such, IMLYGIC is potentially broadly applicable to solid tumors even though it is currently only approved in melanoma.
Dr. Coffin is a pioneer in the fields of oncolytic viral therapy and cancer immunotherapy having spent more than15 years conceiving and developing IMLYGIC and related products. This award recognizes the dedication required of Dr Coffin and the many dedicated professionals involved in the entire innovation and drug development process through to the ultimate commercialization of life saving treatments. This year, the Foundation chose to honor the inventors of six drugs in the field of cancer immunotherapy, which in addition to IMLYGIC were BLINCYTO (Amgen), YERVOY (BMS), NIVOLUMAB (BMS), KEYTRUDA (Merck) & TECENTRIQ (Roche).
Dr. Coffin invented and developed IMLYGIC while at Biovex Inc. Biovex, also founded by Dr Coffin, originally spun out of his research group at University College London in 1999 before being acquired by Amgen in 2011. Since the Biovex acquisition, Dr. Coffin has remained active in the cancer immunotherapy field and recently founded Replimune Ltd. a company developing next generation oncolytic immunotherapy products.
“On behalf of all of Replimune’s investors, we congratulate Rob for his achievement and this recognition of his pioneering role in the field of immuno-oncology,” said Jason Rhodes, partner at Atlas Venture. “We are excited to be working with Rob as he and the Replimune team create transformational oncolytic immunotherapies that will greatly advance patient care.”
About Replimune Ltd
Replimune, headquartered in Oxford UK and with offices in the UK and MA, was founded in April 2015 to develop the next generation of ‘oncolytic immunotherapies’ for the treatment of cancer. Replimune is developing novel, proprietary products intended to improve both the direct anti-tumor effects of selective virus replication and the potency of the immune response to the tumor antigens released. Replimune intends to progress these therapies rapidly through clinical trials and to combine these with other immunooncology products with complementary mechanisms of action at an early stage.
About Oncolytic Therapy
Oncolytic immunotherapy is an emerging class of cancer therapeutics which exploit the ability of viruses to selectively replicate in and kill tumor tissue, while at the same time induce a potent, patient-specific, anti-tumor immune response. Oncolytic viruses have the unique ability to generate an autologous vaccine to the patient’s particular complement of tumor antigens, including neoantigens, in situ in the patient with a truly off-the-shelf approach. While clear single agent clinical activity has been achieved with oncolytic immunotherapy, it is anticipated that particular synergy may be observed in combination with immune checkpoint blockade and other immune-modulatory approaches.