Driving oncolytic virus therapy innovation for patients

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) represent a new class of therapeutic agents in the arsenal of drugs against cancer.  Oncorus has developed a robust OV platform, including a novel approach to maintain safety while enhancing oncolytic potency by leveraging the differential expression of micro-RNA (miR) sequences.


Overview: Oncolytic Virus Therapies

Great promise, significant room for improvement

Checkpoint inhibitors ushered in the immunotherapy era and transformed outcomes for some patients. However, a large percentage of patients don’t respond completely – or at all – to treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. OV therapies could play a critical role in helping improve response rates.

 Oncolytic Viro-Immunotherapy

Oncolytic viruses both directly kill tumors and help to vaccinate the patient. This vaccination is aided by the fact that OVs steer tumor cells toward an immunogenic (vs. apoptotic) cell death. In addition, OVs help to expose all the neoantigens within the tumor to the immune system. This aids in “educating” the immune system that is should target for destruction all cancer cells presenting those neoantigens.

Thus, OVs awaken the immune system, turning previously ‘cold’ tumors ‘hot’ and eliciting anti-tumor immune responses. They destroy the tumor and then vaccinate the patient. This makes them a potentially powerful partner to checkpoint inhibition.

Recent data have demonstrated that current versions of oncolytic virus therapies when combined with checkpoint inhibitors meaningfully improve response rates, helping more patients benefit from immuno-oncology and effectively fight cancer. However, there is still significant room for improvement.

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Multidimensional Proprietary Innovations Enable HSV and Synthetic Virus Platforms

Dramatic enhancements to payload capacity, infectivity and immunogenicity and safety

We have engineered novel advancements in three critical dimensions needed to deliver best-in-class oncolytic virus therapies and propel this modality forward as a standard of care in cancer treatment:

  Payload Capacity
  Unencumbered Viruses with Enhanced Infectivity and Immunogenicity
  Innovative Safety Strategies

Best-in-Class Locally and Systemically Administered Oncolytic Virus Programs

Opportunity to pursue multiple indications

We are advancing a portfolio of locally and systemically administered (IV) OV therapies based on our Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and our Synthetic Virus Platforms. Our team has engineered proprietary innovations into both platforms that give our OV therapies the potential to be best-in-class products. Our two platforms will enable us to pursue multiple products targeting multiple indications and potentially helping to transform outcomes for a broader number of cancer patients.

miR-sequences are small non-coding RNA sequences involved in mRNA silencing, acting as  “master regulators” of cell fate.  In tumors, expression of specific miRs are lost.  Oncorus has incorporated multiple miR-target (miR-T)  sequences within one of more essential viral genes of our viruses, thus inhibiting viral replication in key normal tissues, while enabling selective and potent oncolysis of tumor cells. 

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Platform

Local and Systemic Administration

  • Largest payload capacity in class enabled via proprietary joint deletion
  • Fully replication-competent viruses with enhanced potency
  • Innovative safety strategies

Synthetic Virus Platform

Systemic Administration


  • Developing multiple viruses for repeated, systemic administration
  • Treat tumors not amenable to intratumoral injection
  • Potential for tumor-selective uptake and replication

We have a robust intellectual property (IP) portfolio comprised of 12 distinct families covering our HSV and synthetic virus platforms and proprietary innovations and are pursuing a strategic approach to broaden and reinforce our patent estate.

By innovating on all key facets of OV therapy design, we are committed to realizing the full potential of OV therapy – improving response rates and enabling better outcomes for more cancer patients.