Oncurious NV was incorporated by Oxurion NV, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing ophthalmic medicines, and VIB, the leading life sciences institute in Flanders (Belgium), in 2015. The company was initially investigating the clinical benefits of anti-placental growth factor (PlGF) treatment in pediatric medulloblastoma using the anti-PIGF antibody TB-403.
In 2017, Oncurious took a next step in its corporate development through the acquisition of a unique portfolio of next-generation immuno-oncology assets from venture partner VIB. These projects originated in the VIB laboratories of world-class immuno-oncology experts in T cell and endothelial cell biology. With that, Oncurious broadened its ongoing clinical development activities in oncology with preclinical research and drug development programs. The result is a diversified pipeline of next-generation immuno-oncology drugs targeting a broad spectrum of cancers.
Since then, Oncurious has generated solid results in preclinical immune-oncology tumor models and made significant progress with drug discovery campaigns for a selected set of immuno-oncology programs. As a result, Oncurious has transformed into an immuno-oncology company working on next-generation cancer immunotherapies aiming to overcome tumor immune resistance mechanisms that current immuno-oncology therapies cannot address.
The primary focus of Oncurious is the development of new immuno-oncology therapeutics enhancing T cell migration and activity with the aim of reaching through to difficult to treat solid tumors. This includes immune excluded tumors that are characterized by a lack of immune cells inside the tumor. Hence, patients that do not show a response or lose the response to currently available immune checkpoint inhibitors are anticipated to benefit from the Oncurious therapeutics, allowing more patients to be successfully treated.
"Immuno-oncology therapies these days are instrumental in the treatment of cancer patients achieving major clinical benefits. Nevertheless, the current therapies do not address all immune suppressive mechanisms that are employed by the tumor. Immune cell exclusion is an important mechanism through which the tumor escapes the immune system. Through working on mechanisms that stimulate immune cell infiltration in the tumor we hope to bring an additional set of immune oncology therapeutics that might benefit cancer patients."
Professor Gabriele Bergers (VIB-KU Leuven)
Pascal Merchiers, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Pascal Merchiers, Ph.D., serves as the chief scientific officer, leading the drug discovery and translational research efforts at Oncurious. Prior to joining Oncurious, Pascal was VP R&D at Tusk Therapeutics since the inception of the company and was instrumental in progressing the CD25 Treg program from discovery towards the clinic. Prior to Tusk Therapeutics, Pascal held different positions in BD and drug development at Thrombogenics, Ablynx, Galapagos and Introgene. Pascal obtained his PhD degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Leuven.
Patrik De Haes, MD
Patrik De Haes, MD, has over 25 years of experience in the global healthcare industry in product development, marketing and general management. Before joining Oxurion as CEO in 2008, Patrik was head of Roche’s Global Insulin Infusion division. Prior to that he was President and CEO of Disetronic Medical Systems Inc., a medical device company based in Minneapolis, USA. He also led the global development and commercialization of the first biotech product at Sandoz Pharma (now Novartis) in Switzerland. Patrik holds a degree in Medicine from the University of Leuven.
Oncurious has developed a strategic partnership with VIB and its established academic experts in cancer immunotherapy:
Gabriele Bergers, PhD
Professor in the Department of Oncology, University of Leuven, Belgium
Head of the Laboratory of Tumor Microenvironment and Therapeutic Resistance, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, Leuven, Belgium
Adjunct Full Professor, Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC), Department of Neurological Surgery and Anatomy, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF, USA
Massimiliano Mazzone, PhD
Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven, Belgium
Head of the Laboratory of Tumor Inflammation and Angiogenesis, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, Leuven, Belgium
Jo Van Ginderachter, PhD
Full Professor Immunology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Head of the Laboratory of Myeloid Cell Immunology, VIB Center for Inflammation Research, VUB, Brussel, Belgium
Strategic partnership around anti-PIGF
Full professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven, Belgium
Head of the Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Vascular Metabolism, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, Leuven, Belgium