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Gritstone Oncology and Arbutus Biopharma Announce LNP Technology Licensing Agreement to Develop Nove

VANCOUVER, British Columbia and WARMINSTER, Pa. and EMERYVILLE, Calif., Oct. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (Nasdaq:ABUS), an industry-leading hepatitis B virus (HBV) therapeutic solutions company, and Gritstone Oncology, a leader in personalized cancer immunotherapies, today announced a collaboration and license agreement. Arbutus is deploying its proprietary lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology to deliver Gritstone's RNA-based neoantigen immunotherapy products.

Under the terms of this license agreement, Gritstone obtains worldwide access to Arbutus' portfolio of proprietary and clinically validated LNP products and associated intellectual property. Gritstone will pay Arbutus an upfront payment, payments for achievement of development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, as well as royalties. In addition, Gritstone will reimburse Arbutus for conducting technology development and providing manufacturing and regulatory support for Gritstone's product candidates. The license is specifically directed to the novel RNA-based platform for neoantigen immunotherapies.

"The recent phase III validation of Arbutus' LNP platform makes them the natural partner for Gritstone as we drive our proprietary two-component immunotherapy program into the clinic in mid-2018," said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Gritstone Oncology. "Successful exploratory preclinical work with Arbutus fueled a strong bilateral desire to formalize and extend our relationship. We're excited to continue our work with the team at Arbutus and its LNP technology as we advance our pipeline of immunotherapy product candidates."

"This agreement again represents validation of our industry-leading LNP technology. We are excited to be working with Gritstone to advance their innovative personalized immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer," said Dr. Mark J. Murray, Arbutus' President and CEO. "This transaction is part of realizing the value of our LNP platform, which has broad potential to deliver nucleic acid-based products including mRNA and gene editing therapeutics, and enable Arbutus to continue to focus on development of curative therapies for HBV."

About Arbutus Biopharma

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing a cure for patients suffering from chronic HBV infection. Arbutus is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, and has facilities in Warminster, PA. For more information, please visit

About Gritstone Oncology

Gritstone Oncology is a privately-held, next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company. Gritstone brings together distinguished scientific founders, an experienced and diverse management team, a seasoned and successful board of directors and deep financial backing to tackle fundamental challenges at the intersection of cancer genomics, immunology, and immunotherapy design. The Company's initial goal is to leverage deep learning to identify and deploy therapeutic neoantigens from individual patients' tumors to develop novel treatments for lung and gastric cancer. In addition to neoantigen therapy development, Gritstone is leveraging its unique antigen discovery platform to define targets for shared antigen immunotherapies, which would provide an opportunity to treat even more patients. Gritstone Oncology is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with key functions located in Cambridge, MA and Pleasanton, CA. The company launched in October 2015 and has received funding from leading blue-chip biotechnology investors, including Versant Ventures, The Column Group, Clarus Funds, Frazier Healthcare Partners, RedMile, Casdin Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, Trinitas Capital, GV, and Alexandria Venture Investments. More information can be found at or @gritstoneonc.

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