Curative by Design™
Initially, we plan to focus on advancing two high-impact candidates that have compelling clinical data supporting their expression in major solid cancers and their metastases. T Cell Receptor (TCR) therapies directed against these two targets could provide a long-lasting solution for nearly 100,000 advanced-stage cancer patients annually in the US alone.
Each High Curative Potential™ (HCP) target has a Toolbox of High Probability (HP) epitopes for the major histocompatibility (HLA) types, which will allow Verik to efficiently extend TCR-based HCP therapies to a global population.
Our current pipeline of HCP targets:
is a type of protein that impacts how cells use energy. more
AKAP4 is only found in sperm (protected from the immune system) and cancer. AKAP4 protein is reported in the majority of advanced cancer of the lung, breast, ovary, cervix, colon, and rectum with additional expression in esophageal and prostate cancer.
Tightly restricted to cancer, clinical studies suggest that finding AKAP4 in the circulation may be an excellent diagnostic marker for the presence and recurrence of lung cancer.
is a fusion of two proteins due to chromosome rearrangement where TMPRSS2 causes overexpression of ERG. more
ERG lies at a nexus of regenerative capacity. The fusion is found in 46% of primary prostate cancer and 43% of advanced castration-resistant disease.
Leucine zipper P4 (LUZP4)
is associated with sites of gene transcription and impacts export of mRNA from the nucleus. more
It is only found in the testis and cancer. LUZP4 is reported in some cancers of the breast, ovary, brain, liver, lung, skin (melanoma), head and neck, colon and rectum. Systems biology points to LUZP4 as an important nexus in non-HER2 breast cancer.
ALK fusion proteins
result in the super-charged expression and activity of the kinase ALK. more
The fusion drives the expressing cancer. Our epitope candidates target the type of ALK fusion primarily seen in the lung, but which may also be associated with other types of cancer, including soft tissue myofibroblastic tumors and lymphoma. Currently, ALK fusion cancers are treated with targeted drugs that ultimately fall short.
is a fusion protein at the heart of most rare NUT Midline carcinoma. more
The fusion causes abnormal activation of BRD4, a protein containing a bromodomain, which orchestrates gene transcription. BRD4 is required for transcription of genes associated with regenerative capacity. Currently, increased BRD4 activity is treated with a targeted drug that, despite promising initial response, has not demonstrated robust, sustained efficacy.
is an auxiliary target protein. more
In addition to HCP candidates, our research can find a candidate that is non-HCP but cancer-specific with a helpful biological connection. While not curative on its own, LY6K can serve as potent ally to an HCP target due to its connection to the metastatic process. LY6K is an auxiliary target candidate for metastatic breast cancer and possibly other types of metastatic cancer.
Also, Verik has two HCP candidates that could address sarcoma, a rare type of breast cancer, as well as salivary gland and thyroid cancer.