Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) is a potent, rapidly replicating virus with the ability to target, infect and kill cancer cells after intravenous delivery. Vyriad has developed proprietary technology to rapidly engineer VSV to boost its anticancer activity and to allow noninvasive monitoring in patients.
Low occurrence of VSV infections in humans means most patients will not have pre-existing antiviral antibodies, allowing delivery of VSV by intravenous infusion, thereby expanding the use of oncolytic VSV in multiple cancer indications. Importantly, more than 90,000 individuals have been exposed to a recombinant replication competent VSV vaccine in international rVSV-ZEBOV vaccination trials, providing unprecedented data on human experience with this viral platform.
Voyager V-1 is our lead clinical asset based on the VSV platform. Voyager-V1 is designed for enhanced safety, efficacy, and traceability through the inclusion of the interferon beta gene, enabling the virus to:
- replicate quickly in cancer cells without damaging healthy cells
- recruit cancer-fighting immune cells to the tumor, and
- secrete a measurable reporter protein into the blood.
Voyager-V1 was also engineered to include an iodine transporter NIS gene that facilitates tracking of the virus spread to cancer cells throughout the body using SPECT or PET imaging.
How Voyager-V1 Kills Cancer
Once inside a cancer cell, Voyager-V1 functions like any virus. Within hours of intravenous administration, it quickly replicates and causes the cell to dissolve (lysis), releasing large amounts of viral progeny that can infect other cancer cells. The dying cancer cells also release tumor antigens that provide the necessary targets for T cells to identify and attack uninfected tumor cells. This dual killing mechanism – direct tumor destruction and ignition of anti-cancer immune responses – is potent in combination.
The rapid spread of Voyager-V1 is essential to its ability to inflict maximum damage to cancer cells throughout the body before innate and adaptive anti-viral immunity contains and ultimately neutralizes the virus.
Voyager-V1 is in clinical development as a combination therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies (anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies) that prevent one of cancer’s main defenses against T cell attack.