ORCA Therapeutics, a developer of virotherapies for cancer, received an innovation credit of up to €5 million from Agentschap, an agency executing programs for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation. The funding will support development of lead compound ORCA-010 as a treatment for prostate cancer.
Under terms of the agreement, ORCA receives €1,058,000 to support the initial stage of the project, with the outlook for additional funding of up to €5 million with the successful completion of specific milestones. The credit will become repayable subject to the commercial success of the project.
ORCA Therapeutics’ technology leverages oncolytic replication competent agents (ORCA) derived from naturally occurring viruses. Owing to their ability to self-replicate within the cancer cell, oncolytic viruses have pharmacokinetic properties that set them apart from conventional small molecule or mAb-based therapeutics. Oncolytic viruses are programmed to specifically target, replicate in, and ultimately kill tumor cells, while healthy cells are left unharmed thereby minimizing side effects. ORCA’s approach is to magnify the cell-killing potential of the underlying oncolytic virus while maintaining strong safety.
ORCA-010 is an oncolytic adenovirus based on the company’s T1 technology. The T1 technology refers to a specific mutation in the E3 gp19K gene resulting in enhanced potency in human tumors and cancer-associated fibroblasts in vitro as well as enhanced antitumoral activity when injected intratumorally or systemically in different models in vivo. The oncolytic potency of ORCA-010 is up to ten thousand fold higher than that of other state of the art oncolytic adenoviruses, according to ORCA Therapeutics.
“This credit will allow us to take the next steps in preclinical and clinical development of our ORCA-010 product for treatment of prostate cancer patients,” said Janneke Meulenberg, CEO of ORCA Therapeutics.