Calidi Biotherapeutics Announces FDA Authorization of IND for a Phase 1 Clinical Trial of NeuroNova in Patients with Recurrent High-Grade Glioma

LA JOLLA, CA, USA I August 02, 2022 ICalidi Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Calidi), a clinical-stage biotechnology company that is pioneering allogeneic cell-based platforms to revolutionize oncolytic virus therapies, is pleased to announce that City of Hope has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization to proceed with a phase 1 physician-sponsored clinical trial that will use Calidi’s licensed oncolytic virotherapy platform, NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 (NeuroNova), a cutting-edge therapeutic candidate comprising tumor-tropic neural stem cells delivering an oncolytic adenovirus selectively to tumor sites in patients with recurrent high-grade glioma (Calidi’s NNV-2 program).

The phase 1 physician-sponsored clinical trial will be an open-label, non-randomized, multicenter study. Once the phase 1 trial is funded, it will address the safety and tolerability of administering serial doses of NeuroNova in adult patients with recurrent histologically confirmed high-grade gliomas (WHO grade III or IV). Secondary endpoints will evaluate treatment efficacy, including progression-free and overall survival as well as any immune response to NeuroNova. This physician-sponsored study will be led by principal investigator Jana Portnow, M.D., Professor in City of Hope’s Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and Co-Director of the Brain Tumor Program at City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. City of Hope is one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States.

A previously completed phase 1 dose escalation clinical trial, in newly diagnosed glioma patients, of a single dose of NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 (NeuroNova) given as an adjunct to radiation and temozolomide (Calidi’s NNV-1 program) demonstrated that NeuroNova was well tolerated in the patient population and showed promising preliminary results of efficacy [J Fares et al, Lancet Oncology, 2021, 22(8):1103-1114].

“Worldwide, an estimated 270,000 people were diagnosed with a primary brain tumor in 2020, with a five-year survival rate of only 5%. Recurrent glioma patients have poor prognosis with a median survival of less than one year. Developing our drug candidate for this indication represents a significant milestone that will empower us to help more individuals survive this devastating disease,” said Calidi Biotherapeutics CEO and Chairman of the Board Allan J. Camaisa. “As Calidi undertakes this endeavor, we are pleased to have exclusive commercialization rights to this technology and thrilled to collaborate with two scientific trailblazers who have worked together on this project for over a decade: Dr. Karen Aboody, Professor in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Scientific Leader of the Neuro-oncology Disease Team at City of Hope, and Dr. Maciej (Matt) Lesniak, Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.”

“Our team at City of Hope is excited to be a part of the development of NeuroNova. Despite their potential, the first-generation oncolytic virus therapies given as free virus were not very effective — most likely due to rapid inactivation by the patient’s immune system. Our new platform uses stem cells like a ‘Trojan horse’ to shield the oncolytic viral particles from immune inactivation and deliver them to the tumor sites. This results in significantly more virus distributed at the tumor sites, inducing a greater self-amplifying anti-tumor response. This may also result in a secondary anti-tumor immune response,” said City of Hope’s Dr. Karen Aboody. “In addition to significant experience with this technology, City of Hope has a proven track record in GMP manufacturing of cell and gene therapy agents.”

About NeuroNova

The NeuroNova platform, NSC-CRAd-S-pk7, is an allogeneic, “off-the-shelf” therapy comprised of an immortalized Neural Stem Cell (NSC) line loaded with an engineered oncolytic adenovirus. Upon surgical resection of a tumor, NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 is injected into the walls of the resection cavity, resulting in viral infection and destruction of any remaining tumor cells. Calidi holds an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for patents covering the NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 technology.

About Calidi Biotherapeutics

Calidi Biotherapeutics is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company with proprietary technology that is revolutionizing the effective delivery and potentiation of oncolytic viruses for targeted therapy against difficult-to-treat cancers. Calidi Biotherapeutics is advancing a potent allogeneic stem cell and oncolytic virus combination for use in multiple oncology indications. Calidi’s off-the-shelf, universal cell-based delivery platforms are designed to protect, amplify, and potentiate oncolytic viruses currently in development leading to enhanced efficacy and improved patient safety. Calidi Biotherapeutics is headquartered in La Jolla, California. For more information, please visit

SOURCE: Calidi Biotherapeutics

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