Auris Medical Holding Ltd. (NASDAQ: EARS) has announced that mutant KRAS-driven colorectal cancer has been chosen as the first therapeutic indication for the company’s OligoPhore oligonucleotide delivery platform. The treatment will be developed under project code AM-401, with an IND filing planned by the end of 2022.
CRC among leading cancer death causes
Currently, colorectal cancer is among the most cancers and the second leading cancer death cause in the US. It is estimated that this year there will be 149,500 new CRC cases in the US and around 52,980 death. Around 40-50% of CRC patients have the mutant KRAS gene, contributing to the development, metastasis, and invasion of CRC. KRAS encodes the Ras protein that controls cell maturation, growth, and death. Because of the mutations, the Ras protein can be persistently active, and cancer cells grow.
CRC was chosen as the initial therapeutic indication for the OligoPhore technology because of the significant unmet medical need, promising results from OligoPhore-enabled KRAS silencing studies, and excellent regulatory and development approach. In vivo and in vitro experiments showed effective uptake of OligoPhore nanoparticles with KRAS-targeted siRNA in pancreatic and colorectal cancer cells, strong suppression of KRAS expression, decreased tumor cells viability, and a significant reduction in metastasis and tumor growth.
Auris to advance OligoPhore in CRC.
Auris Medical’s Chief Scientific Officer, Samuel Wickline, said, “In our preclinical studies with OligoPhore enabled siRNA delivery, we have demonstrated potent knock down of KRAS in a highly targeted and effective fashion, which inhibited a key driver of cancer cell proliferation and metastases. Based on these compelling data and the results from our extensive review of strategic development options, we look forward to advancing OligoPhore first in colorectal cancer before applying the technology also to other therapeutic indications.”