Boehringer Ingelheim has exercised an option to acquire all shares of oncolytic virus company ViraTherapeutics.

ViraTherapeutics will operate in Innsbruck, Austria, as a distinct unit of Boehringer’s Discovery Research organisation, “maintaining its innovative biotech heritage and close connections to the Medical University of Innsbruck and the regional scientific community,” the German drugmaker said.

The group specialises in the development of oncolytic viral therapies, its lead candidate being VSV-GP (Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) with modified glycoprotein (GP), which is being investigated alone and in combination with other therapies.

VSV-GP has shown promising results in preclinical models, especially in combination with key immune modulatory principles Boehringer is developing, according to a press release.

"The acquisition of ViraTherapeutics with its exciting oncolytic virus platform is the conclusion of a trusting and close cooperation over two years,” said Dr Heinz Schwer, ViraTherapeutics’ chief executive.

“We are highly optimistic that our VSV-based development programs and technology will complement Boehringer Ingelheim’s immuno-oncology franchise and will serve as a source of innovative, new treatment options for patients living with cancer.”