BioVex was a biotechnology company founded and financed by Sir Chris in 1999.  It was sold in 2011 for $1bn to Amgen Inc, California.

BioVex developed a portfolio of cancer destroying medicines based on herpes simplex virus research at University College London.  The company has raised some $130m in funding from a range of investors such as Morningsdide Ventures, Ventech, MVM Life Sciences and SEP and $70m in Boston which represented the second largest venture capital raise in the biotech sector in 2009.

BioVEX’s lead product, OncoVEX, was the first tumour selective oncolytic agent, containing an immune stimulating gene, to enter clinical development. An oncolytic virus is one that targets, penetrates and destroys cancer cells, while leaving healthy tissues unharmed.


scientist_with_coloured_test_tubes__page_203_of_book__192x128BioVex’s Oncovex is currently in the final stages of testing usually required for US regulatory approval, for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, a skin cancer.  The drug also is being studied in head and neck cancer.  About 68,130 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed this year in the US and 8,700 people died from the disease according the the National Cancer Institute.

Based on the anti-tumour results of clinical studies, BioVex was acquired in one of the most impressive biotech deals of recent years.  It was acquired by Amgen, the worlds largest biotechnology company, for $1bn.

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