Press Release

Calidi Biotherapeutics Announces Exclusive License Agreement with City of Hope and the University of Chicago for Novel Oncolytic Virotherapy Technology

Calidi Biotherapeutics

LA JOLLA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Calidi Biotherapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company with novel allogeneic stem cell platforms for delivery of oncolytic viruses, together with the University of Chicago and City of Hope, a world renowned NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, based in Duarte, California, have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for patents covering cutting edge therapies using an oncolytic adenovirus in combination with a clinical grade allogeneic neural stem cell line.

City of Hope (COH) scientists, led by Dr. Karen Aboody in collaboration with Dr. Maciej Lesniak's team at University of Chicago, and later Northwestern University, have used COH’s exclusive GMP grade immortalized, clonal human neural stem cell line, to selectively deliver an oncolytic adenovirus to tumor sites. Dr. Aboody and Dr. Lesniak, together with Dr. Rachael Mooney at COH, have spent 13 years in a passionate effort to translate promising pre-clinical results into the clinic, attaining FDA approval for commencing a first-in-human Phase-1 trial in recurrent glioma patients.

“We are very excited about the partnership and collaboration with Calidi Biotherapeutics. Their deep understanding and expertise using allogeneic stem cells as a delivery platform to protect, deliver, amplify, and potentiate oncolytic virotherapy, can potentially result in a significantly more effective treatment for cancer patients with invasive tumors,” commented Dr. Karen Aboody, Professor, Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, City of Hope National Medical Center & Beckman Research Institute.

“The first wave of Oncolytic Viruses were novel, but lacked the ability to efficiently deliver the virus to tumor sites, due to the human complement immune system inactivating the viruses, usually within one hour of patient injection, thus resulting in a lack of efficacy,” stated Allan Camaisa, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Calidi Biotherapeutics. “We believe this collaboration with City of Hope will allow us to implement Calidi’s proprietary techniques together with City of Hope’s novel approach to glioblastoma and other malignant tumors, using neural stem cells combined with an oncolytic adenovirus. This FDA approved Investigational New Drug (IND), planned for patient trials in the first quarter of 2022, increases Calidi’s drug pipeline and gives our company a tumor-tropic stem cell line to use for oncolytic virus delivery in cancer patients.”

This exclusive license agreement, which was executed by the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepeneurship and Innovation, transferred the COH/University of Chicago IND to Calidi for the commercial development of a licensed product. The agreement grants to Calidi commercial exclusivity in using neural stem cells with the adenovirus known as CRAd-pk-S-7 for oncolytic virotherapy.

“Calidi’s scientific and medical teams are very excited to contribute in the development of this promising technology that has significant potential to help many patients with advanced tumors,” said Boris Minev, MD, President, Medical and Scientific Affairs at Calidi Biotherapeutics. “We are delighted to collaborate with the outstanding researchers and clinicians who developed this novel oncolytic virotherapy approach.”

About Calidi Biotherapeutics

Calidi Biotherapeutics is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company with proprietary technology that is revolutionizing the effective delivery of oncolytic viruses protected by stem cells 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 platform is designed to protect, amplify, and potentiate oncolytic viruses currently in development leading to enhanced efficacy and improved patient safety. Calidi Biotherapeutics is headquartered in San Diego, California. For more information, please visit

About University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is a leading academic and research institution that has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. As an intellectual destination, the University draws scholars and students from around the world to its campuses and centers around the globe. The University provides a distinctive educational experience and research environment, empowering individuals to challenge conventional thinking and pursue field-defining research that produces new understanding and breakthroughs with global impact.

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation applies world-class business expertise from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to bring new ideas and breakthrough innovations to market. Home of the University’s technology transfer office, the Polsky Center’s dedicated team of professionals with deep technical expertise enabling technology commercialization perform market analysis, manage intellectual property, identify partners, and negotiate partnerships and licenses for discoveries and inventions developed by faculty, researchers, and staff. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter @polskycenter.

About City of Hope

City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy. City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin, monoclonal antibodies, and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. Translational Genomic research (TGen) became a part of City of Hope in 2016. AccessHope, a wholly owned subsidiary, was launched in 2019, dedicated to serving employers and their health care partners by providing access to City of Hope’s exceptional cancer expertise. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is ranked among the nation’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Its main campus is located in Pasadena, California, near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California and in Arizona. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram.

Forward-Looking Statements

Some of the statements in this press release may be forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties inherent in research and development. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as “will,” “believes,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “estimates,” “may,” and similar expressions) are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include the expectations, plans, and prospects for the Company, including potential clinical successes, the potential impact of COVID-19 on our operations, anticipated regulatory approvals and future product launches, and projected revenues, margins, earnings and market shares. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. The statements made by the Company are based upon management’s current expectations and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include market conditions and other factors beyond the Company’s control. Calidi Biotherapeutics does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the completeness or updated status of such statements.

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