VCN-01 is a virus that has been modified to selectively recognize and efficiently eliminate human tumor cells. It expresses a set of properties that coverts VCN-01 in a good candidate for the treatment of human tumors with high extracelullular content, such as pancreatic cancer.
VCN-01 is a tumor-selective replication-competent adenovirus expressing PH20 hyaluronidase. PH20 is an enzyme that degrades hyaluronan (HA), an important structural element of tumor extracellular matrix that blocks the action of various chemotherapeutic agents since it creates a dense environment around tumor that increases interstitial pressure and inhibits drug entry and diffusion into the tumor mass. Expression of hyaluronidase from VCN-01 facilitates penetration and decreases intratumoral fluid pressure, enhancing intratumoral virus spread. In addition, VCN-01 capsid has been modified to allow the virus to partially evade liver tropism and target selectively the tumor after intravenous administration.
VCN is very advanced in the clinical program Phase 1 with VCN-01 by intravenous and intratumoral administration in patients with advanced solid tumors, including pancreatic cancer. Our rational is that VCN-01 mechanism of action differs from conventional therapies these tumor types in terms of therapy resistance, drug pharmacokinetics, and stromal barriers.
Additionally Phase 1 trials in other indications are planned to begin in the next months.
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