VRN03 is a kinase inhibitor like our other programs. We found that inhibition of this kinase leads to the treatment of head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. Moreover, we confirmed that inhibiting this kinase together with EGFR can lead to better efficacy in tumor suppression of non-small cell lung cancer by delaying the emergence of EGFR-TKI resistance. This implies the opportunity of VRN03 as a combination therapy with existing EGFR inhibitors.
VRN03 is aiming for a combination therapy with EGFR inhibitors to delay the emergence of resistanceto EGFR inhibitors. Therefore, we expect VRN03 will be in high demand from patients who are treated with EGFR inhibitors such as Tagrisso. In case of pancreatic cancer, there are not much effective treatment option other than Gemcitabine, resulting in high demand for a novel therapy. The amount of annual cost for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is expected to reach $3.5 billion in 2025 from $1 billion last year.
[NSCLC] Voronoi VRN03 compound is effective when combined with EGFR targeted therapy. The biggest challenge of EGFR-targeted therapeutics is to overcome acquired-resistance to the treatment. Tagrisso, for instance, is considered to replace first and second generation therapies, yet clinical studies show that half of tagrisso treated patients develop resistance(C797S or MET amplification) 12 months eventually. Voronoi’s VRN03 compound, in combination with EGFR-targeted therapies, increases therapeutic efficacy and delays resistance development. Lung cancer animal studies have confirmed that tumors disappeared completely in the group treated with combination of Tagrisso and VRN03. In addition, after 120 days, resistance was developed in the tagrisso-only group, while no resistantce have appeared in the combination group.
[Pancreatic Cancer/HNSCC] Voronoi VRN03 compound is effective not only in NSCLC but also in pancreatic cancer and HNSCC. In xenograft animal models, monotherapy results showed promising outcome.
In order to ensure scientific rigor, Voronoi is working with world’s leading research institutions, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institue (DFCI), Johns Hopkins Medical School, and Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology(KRIBB). In particular, we are looking into various models with consultancy of Dr. Pasi A. Jänne, professor of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute(DFCI) who was a principal investigator of Tagrisso.