Viracta’s lead program is in clinical development for Epstein Barr Virus-associated cancers.
We will also apply our platform to benefit patients with a range of virus-associated cancers and other serious diseases.
Our viral activation therapy products will be orally administered combination therapy that can be used on an out-patient basis, which will facilitate patient compliance, better outcomes for patients, and contribute to lower overall cost of care.
EBV is associated with a range of lymphoid malignancies.
EBV was first found in Burkitt’s lymphoma patients. It also plays roles in a subset of patients with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including patients with aggressive forms of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL). It is also involved in about one-third of Hodgkin’s Disease patients. It is found in nearly all cases of aggressive NK/T cell lymphomas.
Among immuno-suppressed patients, such as solid organ or hematopoietic cell transplant patient receiving immuno-suppressive therapy, nearly all patients with post-transplant lymphoma or post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) are associated with EBV. Most patients with HIV- or AIDS-associated lymphomas are also EBV positive.
EBV is found in the vast majority of patients with an aggressive head and neck cancer - nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). While NPC is relatively rate in the US, it is far more common in certain regions of Asia, particularly in areas of Southern China. It is a leading cause of cancer death among men in Taiwan.
EBV is found in up to 15% of gastric carcinomas (GC), the second most common cause of cancer death in the world. While relatively rare in the US, GC is a major healthcare concern especially in many parts of Asia. Certain GC sub-types, including lymphoepithelial-like GC are predominantly EBV positive.
Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder is a serious and life-threatening condition for solid organ and hematopoietic cell transplant patients.
In PTLD the immuno-suppressive drugs that enable patients to receive transplant also keep the immune system from controlling proliferation of EBV+ lymphoid cells, resulting in an aggressive lymphoma. While reduction or removal of immuno-suppressive drugs can reduce or control PTLD in some cases, removal of immuno-suppression can put the transplant graft at risk, which in itself can be life-threatening.
Viracta’s viral activation approach has demonstrated therapeutic benefit to EBV+ PTLD patients in a proof-of-principle clinical trial.
After confirmation of safety as well as efficacy as a therapeutic in Viracta’s EBV lymphoma Phase 2 clinical trial, Viracta plans to advance into development for potential prophylaxis of PTLD in transplant patients.