VCN Biosciences uses a technological platform based on oncolytic adenoviruses to generate virotherapeutic candidates. Virotherapy is a therapeutic approach for cancer treatment based on the use of viruses that are able to replicate and lyse selectively tumor cells (oncolytic viruses). This novel class of targeted anticancer agents has a unique mechanisms of action compared to other cancer drugs as they can respond to the lack of function of a protein (they act upon the absence of a target) and they are able to self-amply and propagate the oncolytic effect (reducing the dose needed to reach the tumor cells). Descriptions of cancer remissions following virus infections date back to a century ago. Initial therapeutic attempts with viruses against cancer published 50 years used non-engineered viruses. Over the past decade oncolytic viruses have been genetically modified to complete its viral cycle exclusively in cells that express functions that characterize tumor cells. In virtue of such modifications viral replication is linked to genetic alterations of human tumors. Among different viral backbones developed for virotherapy, oncolytic viruses derived from human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5wt) are especially appealing given the limited pathogenicity of this virus and the possibility to control the expression of its genes. Its value in cancer treatment has been demonstrated in different preclinical and clinical phase I, II, and III studies.
Currently VCN has four exclusive patent licenses in independent technologies developed internally and in collaboration with the Virotherapy Group of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO-IDIBELL) that result in enhanced antitumoral potency of oncolytic adenoviruses.