TTK kinase is involved in cell cycle regulation, and is known to play an essential role in cell division. Inferred from this, the inhibition of TTK leads to the problem in dividing cells, resulting in suppression of cell division, and consequently causes cell death in the case of rapidly growing cancer cells.
Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for about 20% of all breast cancers, but it does not respond to any existing targeted therapies or immuno-oncology drugs. Based on the diagnosed prevalence in 8 major countries, US, China, Japan, and 5EU(UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain), the total annual cost of triple-negative breast cancer is expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2025 along with the increase of the number of patients. A new drug for TNBC is going to be a valuable therapeutic option for many patients suffering from this cancer.
In a TNBC xenografted mouse model, VRN08 showed superior tumor suppression compared to that of competitors in developmental stage. In particular, other TTK inhibitors in clinical trials turn out to exhibit gut toxicity, but VRN08 did not show toxicity in small intestine, proving our candidate compound’s safety.
VRN08 plans to conduct phase 1 clinical trials in Korea in 2020 for terminal solid tumor patients including TNBC. From Phase 2, we plan to expand clinical trials to brain cancer and brain metastases(cases where lung and breast cancer metastasized to the brain) based on its brain permeability, and also expand to other solid tumors including liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancer based on drug distribution traits.
Voronoi is working with professional research institutions including Qubest Bio and CrownBio for the program.