- Clinical Trials
Our lead product candidate, REQORSA™ immunogene therapy (quaratusugene ozeplasmid) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), uses the company’s unique, proprietary ONCOPREX® Nanoparticle Delivery System, which we believe is the first systemic gene therapy delivery platform used for cancer in humans. In 2020, the FDA granted Fast Track Designation for REQORSA in combination with AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso® (osimertinib) in late-stage NSCLC patients with EFGR mutations whose tumors progressed after treatment with Tagrisso. In 2021, the FDA granted Fast Track Designation for REQORSA in combination with Merck & Co’s Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) in late-stage NSCLC patients whose disease progressed after treatment with Keytruda.
The active ingredient in our lead product candidate, REQORSA, is the TUSC2 gene, a tumor suppressor gene.
REQORSA consists of the TUSC2 gene encapsulated in a nanoparticle made from lipid molecules with a positive electrical charge. REQORSA is injected intravenously and can specifically target cancer cells, which generally have a negative electrical charge. Once REQORSA is taken up into a cancer cell, the TUSC2 gene is expressed into a protein that is capable of restoring certain defective functions arising in the cancer cell. REQORSA has a multimodal mechanism of action whereby it interrupts cell signaling pathways that cause replication and proliferation of cancer cells, re-establishes pathways for programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in cancer cells, and modulates the immune response against cancer cells. REQORSA has also been shown to block mechanisms that create drug resistance.
We believe that REQORSA, unlike other gene therapies, which either need to be delivered directly into tumors or require cells to be removed from the body, re-engineered and then reinserted into the body, is the first systemic gene therapy used for cancer in humans.
REQORSA is a pan-kinase inhibitor shown to simultaneously inhibit the EGFR and AKT oncogenic kinase pathways in vitro and in vivo. Once the cancer cell takes up the nanoparticle containing TUSC2, it is reprogrammed to die. Resistance to targeted drugs and checkpoint inhibitors develop through activation of alternate bypass pathways. For example, when PD-1 is blocked, the TIM-3 checkpoint is up-regulated. We believe that REQORSA’s multimodal activity will block emerging bypass pathways, reducing the probability that drug resistance develops.
Tagrisso® is a registered trademark of AstraZeneca.