Viralytics’ lead investigational product, CAVATAK®, is a proprietary formulation of an oncolytic common cold virus that has demonstrated anti-tumour activity, along with a promising safety profile, in a Phase 2 clinical trial. CAVATAK, or Coxsackievirus (CVA21) has the potential to directly target, infect, multiply within, and destroy a wide range of cancer cells, both at the tumour site and throughout the body.
CAVATAK acts by seeking out and attaching itself to a protein that is highly expressed on the surface of many cancer cells (ICAM-1). Once attached to this protein, the virus is then able to insert itself into the cancer cell, replicate, and burst the cancer cell apart, a process known as lysis. Thousands of viral progeny then can spread and replicate this cycle of destruction. During the CAVATAK process, tumour cell fragments are released, which can potentially activate the body’s own immune system by identifying the cancerous tumour cells as foreign.
CAVATAK is currently being evaluated in Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, both as an intratumoural and intravenous agent, in melanoma, prostate, lung and bladder cancers.
Key Potential Advantages
CAVATAK has several important attributes including:
- Known targeted mechanism of action towards external receptors overexpressed preferentially on cancer cells
- Potential application across a range of cancer types, including prostate, lung, melanoma and bladder cancers
- Potential application by three routes of administration (intralesional, intravenous and intra vesical) opens up the potential to apply to a broad range of cancer types
- Low toxicity with low levels of Grade 3 or greater adverse events for patients
- Potential synergy with existing cancer therapies – there is preclinical and early clinical evidence that CAVATAK used in combination with next-generation products such as the checkpoint inhibitors, YERVOY and KEYTRUDA increases the clinical benefit to patients
- The virus is not genetically modified
- CAVATAK’s small size (25nm) and non-enveloped nature enables it to disseminate more widely in the body than larger oncolytic viruses
- Fast replication cycle (6 hours) resulting in a potentially more rapid response