Calgary, AB, November 20, 2000 --- Oncolytics Biotech Inc (TSE:ONC) today announced that it has entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with US based pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer Inc., ("Pfizer") for the development and marketing of ONC's reovirus for animal use. The reovirus has shown effectiveness in a number of animal model studies including canine. Pfizer will be responsible for development and commercialisation of the product. ONC will provide continuing support to Pfizer for the development of the product. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Pfizer has one of the premier animal health programs in the world, both with respect to total sales and innovative new products", said Dr. Brad Thompson, President and CEO of ONC. "There are estimated to be over 110 million companion pets in North America, of which 25% are expected to get cancer in their lifetimes. Our agreement with Pfizer represents the best and quickest way for the reovirus to be developed into a product that addresses the needs of this market."
ONC is a biotechnology company whose focus is the development of the reovirus as a potential cancer therapeutic. The reovirus infects and kills cancer cells with an activated Ras pathway. Ras is an important component of a pathway controlling normal growth and differentiation of a cell and when activated, may account for a large proportion of all human and animal tumours. Researchers believe that targeting this pathway could have broad potential in the treatment of many cancers. ONC's researchers demonstrated that the reovirus was selectively able to kill cancer cells with this particular activation and successfully demonstrated that the virus could kill human cancer cells in vitro derived from breast, prostate, pancreatic, and brain tumours, as well as being able to treat tumours successfully in a number of animal models. ONC, separate from this agreement with Pfizer, initiated a Phase I human clinical trial in June, 2000.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements which involve known and unknown risks, delays, uncertainties and other factors not under the Company's control which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from the results, performance or expectations implied by these forward-looking statements.