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Press Release

Transgene to announce major clinical results in 2018 and achieve promising progress on its new oncolytic viruses

Posted on: 21 Mar 18
  • All clinical programs made progress
    • 7 clinical trials initiated, including three combination trials in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck KGaA/Pfizer to access immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and two trials evaluating oncolytic viruses
    • Clinical results expected in 2018 on five products

ü Invir.IO™ oncolytic virus platform launched

  • First Invir.IOTM preclinical research agreements signed with BioInvent and Randox
  • 10 preclinical product candidates under evaluation
  • Good cash position - €41.4 million at the end of 2017 – financial visibility until mid-2019
    • Cash burn in 2017 well controlled at €28.1 million


Conference call scheduled today at 6:00 p.m. CET (in English)



Strasbourg, France, March 21, 2018, 5:45 p.m. CET – Transgene (Euronext Paris: TNG), Transgene (Euronext Paris: TNG), a biotech company that designs and develops virus-based immunotherapies, published its financial results for 2017 and provided an update on the progress of its clinical pipeline, preclinical pipeline and its technology platforms.


Philippe Archinard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Transgene, commented:  

“In 2017, Transgene made significant progress across all aspects of its business and launched seven clinical trials. These studies are designed to demonstrate the potential of our therapeutic vaccine and oncolytic virus immunotherapeutics in combination with ICIs. As a result, we remain on track to communicate t clinical data on five products before the end of 2018.


“With the launch of our Invir.IOTM platform, we also confirmed our positioning at the forefront of innovation in the field of oncolytic viruses, an area of immense promise. With Invir.IOTM, we design novel virotherapies against cancer with multiple and complementary modes of action to better control the tumor microenvironment and to attack tumors much more effectively. The signings of collaborative agreements with BioInvent and Randox are the first steps of the acknowledgement of this potential. They cumulate with our ongoing clinical developments of Pexa-Vec and TG6002.


“Our expertise in both therapeutic vaccines and oncolytic viruses, confirmed by recent achievements, allows us to look at 2018 with confidence.”

Clinical Pipeline Review


TG4010: combination trial with nivolumab (ICI); collaborations with Bristol-Myers Squibb


TG4010 is a therapeutic vaccine being developed for the treatment of advanced-stage non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). TG4010’s mechanism of action, excellent safety profile and existing clinical data make it a very suitable candidate for combinations with other therapies.


Treating lung cancer remains an important medical need despite recent progress. There is a clear need to increase both the number of patients responding to treatment (response rate) and the duration of response to achieve better patient outcomes. New positive clinical data from the ICI pembrolizumab in first-line lung cancer patients were recently announced. As a result, we expect most first-line patients, particularly in the US, to receive an ICI as a monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy depending on the level of PD-L1 expression of the patients’ tumor cells.

Transgene, with its company-sponsored first-line trial assessing TG4010 in combination with nivolumab and chemotherapy, is well positioned both in Europe and in the US to prosper in this changed environment. We continue to believe that the addition of TG4010 could be crucial in improving outcomes for first-line patients.



+ Opdivo® (ICI) (nivolumab) 
+ chemotherapy 

Phase 2

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – 1st line

Trial of TG4010 in combination with nivolumab and with chemotherapy in patients whose tumor cells express low or undetectable levels of PD-L1; sponsor: Transgene

ü Collaboration deal signed in April 2017 with Bristol-Myers Squibb. BMS is supplying Opdivo® (nivolumab)

ü First patient treated in January 2018; trial recruiting in Europe and in the US

ü First results expected in 2H 2018


+ Opdivo® (ICI) (nivolumab) 

Phase 2

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – 2nd line

Trial of TG4010 in combination with nivolumab, which is being provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb, in a collaborative agreement with UC Davis Medical Center (USA); principal investigator: Dr. Karen Kelly; sponsor: UC Davis

ü First patient treated in March 2017; trial’s 4 sites open in California

ü The use of ICIs in first-line therapy had led to slower recruitment into this second line trial, as patients previously treated with ICIs are excluded. Results from the interim analysis of this study are now expected in 2H 2018.


Pexa-Vec: ongoing Phase 3 trial, ongoing Phase 2 combination trials


Pexa-Vec is Transgene’s lead oncolytic virus drug candidate. It is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells through intracellular viral replication (oncolysis), and by stimulating the body’s immune response against cancer cells. Its mechanism of action and tolerability profile make it an appropriate candidate for use in combinations.


Advanced liver cancer remains an important medical need. The approaches currently being developed are aimed at increasing treatment response rates and improving overall survival. The registration of nivolumab in the US as a second-line treatment, together with existing data, suggest that patients could also respond positively to an ICI as a first-line treatment.

Transgene’s development of Pexa-Vec as a first-line treatment combined with both the current standard of care (sorafenib) and nivolumab, could play an important role in the future treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.



+ sorafenib


Phase 3

Advanced liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma - HCC) – 1st line

ü Clinical trial being conducted by Transgene’s partner, SillaJen (sponsor)

ü Ongoing recruitment. First patient treated in Europe in April 2017

ü Trial recruitment authorized in China (July 2017)

ü First data readout expected in 2019


+ Opdivo® (ICI) (nivolumab) 

Phase 2

Advanced liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma - HCC) – 1st line

ü Principal investigator: Prof. Olivier Rosmorduc (AP-HP, Paris); sponsor: Transgene

ü First patient treated in July 2017; several active trial sites

ü First data readout expected in 2H 2018

Pexa-Vec is also being developed for the treatment of other solid tumors.

Ongoing trials are expected to deliver results in 2018.


+ metronomic


Phase 1/2a

HER2 negative breast cancer and soft tissue sarcoma (METROmaJX)

ü Principal investigator: Prof. Antoine Italiano (Institut Bergonié, Bordeaux); sponsor: INCa

ü Positive results from the Phase 1 part were presented at ESMO 2017 (Sept. 2017)

ü Recruitment ongoing


+ Yervoy® (ICI)


Phase 1

Solid tumors (ISI-JX)

ü Coordinating investigator: Dr. Aurélien Marabelle; sponsor: Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon

ü First patient treated in February 2017

ü Recruitment ongoing



Solid tumors

ü Principal investigator: Prof. Alan Anthoney; sponsor: University of Leeds (UK)

ü Recruitment completed


Our partner SillaJen has also published clinical data that further demonstrate the potential of Pexa-Vec. It presented a poster at ASCO GU featuring the results of a clinical trial in patients with renal cell carcinoma and liver metastases (n=17). The disease control rate reached 76%, with one complete response, confirming that Pexa - Vec, administered intravenously as a monotherapy, can induce antitumor activity.


TG4001: trial in combination with avelumab (ICI); collaboration agreement with Merck KGaA and Pfizer


TG4001 is a therapeutic vaccine that has demonstrated good tolerability, a significant HPV clearance rate and promising efficacy results. Its mechanism of action and good safety profile make TG4001 a good vaccine candidate to be combined with other therapies.



+ Bavencio® (ICI)

Phase 1/2

HPV-positive head and neck cancer – 2nd line

ü Clinical collaboration agreement with Merck KGaA and Pfizer, for the supply of avelumab for the trial

ü Principal investigator: Prof. Christophe Le Tourneau (Institut Curie, Paris); sponsor: Transgene

ü First patient treated in September 2017; several sites recruiting

ü First results expected in 2H 2018


TG6002: first-in-human trial started


A new-generation oncolytic immunotherapy, TG6002 has been designed by Transgene to combine the mechanism of oncolysis (targeted breakdown of cancer cells) with local production of the chemotherapy
(5-FU) directly in the tumor. This approach aims at attacking solid tumors on several fronts while avoiding the chemotherapy-associated side effects.



Phase 1


ü Principal investigator: Prof. Ahmed Idbahi (AP-HP, Paris), with the support of INCa (French national cancer institute); sponsor: AP-HP 

ü First patient treated in October 2017


Phase 1

Gastro-intestinal adenocarcinoma

ü First IND request filed for this trial; sponsor: Transgene


TG1050: First part of the results featured at the AASLD in October 2017


TG1050 is a therapeutic vaccine designed for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. TG1050’s technology (T101) is being developed in China through the joint-venture between Transgene and Tasly Biopharmaceutical Technology.



+ Standard of care

Phase 1/1b

Chronic hepatitis B

ü First part of the results featured at the AASLD (October 2017)

ü Good safety profile confirmed (single and multiple doses)

ü Initiation in January 2018 of a clinical study in China assessing T101

ü Full results available in 2H 2018


Invir.IOTM: New Industry Leading OV Platform


In September 2017, Transgene announced the launch of Invir.IO™ a patented cutting-edge technology platform designed to generate a new generation of multifunctional oncolytic viruses capable of enhancing the tumor micro-environment’s modulation. Novel oncolytic virus therapeutics based on Invir.IO™ have the capacity to incorporate several transgenes encoding for a range of specific anticancer weapons. By using this approach and working alongside external collaborators to provide access to clinically relevant transgenes, Transgene aims to develop OV therapeutics that can transform the treatment of cancer.


Transgene has already demonstrated that oncolytic viruses from the Invir.IO™ platform attack tumors on several fronts and, in addition to the remarkable oncolytic properties of Vaccinia viruses, may:

  • induce immunogenic death of cancer cells, and
  • allow the expression of several anticancer weapons such as cytokines, chemokines, enzymes,  monoclonal antibodies or mini-antibodies (SdAbs, single-domain antibodies) in the tumor.


Transgene is currently evaluating 10 preclinical Invir.IO™ OVs to identify the most appropriate candidates to take into clinical development to address a number of priority indications.


To complement its in-house expertise, Transgene signed two collaborative research agreements in 2017 to gain access to partners’ transgene sequences, coding for anticancer agents, to be incorporated into an Invir.IO™ patented oncolytic virus owned by Transgene. The resulting oncolytic viruses have the potential to be significantly more effective than the combination of these agents administered separately:

  • Incorporating an anti-CTLA-4 antibody from BioInvent alone or together with other anticancer weapons. The local expression of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies in the tumor should reduce Treg mediated-immunosuppression in the tumor, thus increasing antitumor activity. This approach is expected to have a much better safety profile compared to the systemic use of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies;
  • Incorporating one or more SdAbs generated by Randox in order to combine the effects of oncolytic viruses with the therapeutic properties of SdAbs, which will be expressed directly in the tumor micro-environment, in order to directly or indirectly stimulate effector cells in solid tumors.


In 2018, Transgene plans to invest approximately two thirds of its preclinical research spending on its Invir.IO™ platform and OV candidates. Transgene expects to obtain preclinical proof of concept for its lead candidates OVs in 2018 and to be in a position to initiate the first clinical trials with Invir.IO™ designed virotherapies in 2019.


Research Collaboration with Servier


In June 2017, Transgene signed a collaboration agreement with Servier to generate an original engineering process of allogeneic CAR-T cell therapies by applying Transgene’s viral vectorization technology and capabilities. The aim is to improve the engineering performance of the process by reducing the number of steps.

Transgene received €1 million as upfront payment. The collaboration also generates R&D service fees as well as potential success fees.


Intellectual Property


In 2017, Transgene filed several patent applications on new technologies, including Invir.IOTM developments.

More than 20 patents were granted and ensure the protection of Transgene’s innovations.


Key Financials for 2017


  • Net cash burn for 2017 was reduced to €28.1 million compared to €30.6 million in 2016.
  • Cash available at year-end 2017: €41.4 million, compared to €56.2 million at the end of 2016. This cash balance includes €13.5 million (net) raised from a private placement concluded in November 2017.
  • Net operating expenses of €36.0 million in 2017, compared to €33.0 million in 2016.
  • Net loss of €32.2 million in 2017, compared to a loss of €25.2 million in 2016.


“We were able to reduce our cash burn in 2017 despite accelerating our development plan, starting numerous clinical trials, and making a planned milestone payment to SillaJen of €3.8 million. Operating costs remain under good control which has allowed the Company to allocate most of its financial resources to strategic clinical and preclinical operations. Our current cash resources, including the funds we raised in the private placement in November 2017, will allow us to deliver a number of important clinical milestones in the second half of 2018,” said Jean-Philippe Del, Vice President, Finance.


The financial statements for 2017 as well as management’s discussion and analysis are attached to this press release (Appendices A and B).


Financial Outlook 2018


Transgene expects its cash burn for 2018 to be comparable to 2017. The Company has the financial resources to execute its strategy through mid-2019.


The Board of Directors of Transgene met on March 21, 2018, under the chairmanship of Philippe Archinard and closed the 2017 financial statements. Audit procedures have been performed by the statutory auditors and the delivery of the auditors’ report is ongoing. The Company’s registration document, which includes the annual financial report, will be available in April 2018 on Transgene’s website,


A conference call in English is scheduled on March 21st at 6:00 p.m. CET.


Webcast link to English language conference call:


Participant telephone numbers:

France: +33 1 7075 0711

United Kingdom: +44 333 3000 804

United States: +1 631 913 1422

Confirmation code: 71 857 783#



A replay of the call will be available on the Transgene website ( following the live event.






Lucie Larguier

Director Corporate Communications & IR

+33 (0)3 88 27 91 04

Media contacts:


Citigate Dewe Rogerson

David Dible/Marine Perrier

+ 44 (0)20 7638 9571  

Editor's Details

Mike Wood

Last updated on: 21/03/2018

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