Verseon Corporation, a US pharmaceutical company, focused on drug development, presented the first preclinical results on its novel anticancer compounds at the BIO-Europe conference in Berlin yesterday. The data suggest that these drug candidates may be especially well-suited for the treatment of solid tumors resistant to existing chemotherapy agents.
One of the most common ways in which cancer cells render chemotherapies ineffective is by triggering an overproduction of transport proteins that expel many organic substances, including drugs. Dr. Anirban Datta, Verseon’s Director of Discovery Biology, presented data showing that the new tubulin inhibitors are significantly less susceptible to this mode of tumor resistance. In addition, results from in vitro studies show that Verseon’s compounds maintain efficacy across multiple cell lines that are resistant to common chemotherapy agents.
Verseon’s drug candidates inhibit microtubule formation by targeting the protein tubulin. They work by blocking blood vessel growth and preventing cell division (mitosis), two proven treatment strategies for cancer. The data presented at BIO-Europe also show that lead candidates have pharmacokinetics suitable for administration as infusion, an important prerequisite for inclusion in infusion-based chemotherapy regimens.
“There is an ongoing need for anticancer agents less susceptible to tumor resistance that can be used in conjunction with existing and new drugs,” said Dr. Datta. “The fact that our tubulin inhibitors are mostly unaffected by major transporters could change the standard of care for cancer chemotherapy. In particular, using transporter overexpression as a biomarker to drive treatment decisions could lead to more effective precision second-line therapy.”
Verseon’s diverse pipeline of drug candidates is driven by the company’s computational drug discovery platform, which is able to access many more drug-like molecules than are available to conventional pharmaceutical companies. Verseon currently has drug programs in anticoagulation, diabetic macular edema, hereditary angioedema, and oncology. The company will present the latest results in its anticoagulant program, which is expected to enter phase I clinical trials in 2018, at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions later this month