Synthetic Biologics Inc (NYSE: SYN) has acquired VCN Biosciences, SL. VCN is a biotechnology company that is creating an oncolytic adenovirus platform. The company has designed this platform for intravitreal and intravenous delivery. It causes the death of tumor cells, induces the patients’ immune system to produce and sustain a strong response, and improves the action of the co-administered drug on the tumor.
Synthetic Biologics has access to VCN-01
Through the acquisition, Synthetic Biologics has added VCN-01, VCN’s lead drug candidate, to its pipeline. It has also gotten the VCN’s VCN-11 which is still in the preclinical stages of testing. VCN-11 and VCN-01 are potential drugs for treating rare cancers whose needs are still unmet.
Moreover, the European Medicines Agency gave the orphan designation to VCN-01 in 2011 to treat pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The U.S Food and Drug Administration also gave it the same designation for the drug in February 2022 to treat retinoblastoma.
VCN-11 is similar to VCN-01. However, it includes an albumin-binding domain in its outer shell. VCN designed the drug to enhance systemic delivery since it enabled the virus to cover itself in serum albumin from the host and prevented neutralizing antibodies inactivation.
According to Synthetic Biologics’ CEO, Steve Shallcross, the transaction gives the company a solid foundation for developing oncolytic viruses. He adds that treatments application for OVs is limited since they require local administration.
Shallcross adds that the company’s OVs are for systemic use and target metastatic and primary tumors. While in the tumors, the OVs replicate aggressively and selectively. They also express PH20, which breakdown the stroma of the tumors
The company is planning a study for VCN-01
The CEO states that the data so far on efficacy and safety is positive. The company will now begin a Phase II clinical study of VCN-01 when used with Abraxane/gemcitabine, the standard in patients with PDAC.
Dr. Manuel Hildago, a prominent academic, scientist, and physician with oncology expertise, will lead the study. Furthermore, the company will conduct a Phase II/III study of VCN-01 as adjunct chemotherapy or as a rescue for patients with severe RB.
Shallcross believes the company can leverage its position and partnerships in the space. Moreover, the Company is dedicated to increase share value for its investors.