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VCN Biosciences –the company that won the last edition of the BioEmprenedor XXI awards– has closed their first round of funding valued at €1.1 million. Participants in this operation included the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), ACC1Ó, Genoma España and private investors. The instruments they have obtained are NEOTEC and NEBT loans and a technology portfolio project. These resources will go towards moving one of their new products to treat chemotherapy-resistant cancers into the clinical stages. 

In this operation, VCN Biosciences has received guidance from the University of Barcelona Bosch i Gimpera Foundation (FBG) and from Bioemprèn.

VCN Biosciences develops new biotech drugs to treat cancer using a technology platform based on oncolytic adenoviruses. Oncolytic viruses are a powerful biotechnology strategy to selectively target cancer. These viruses work by targeting tumor cells, multiplying inside them and killing the tumor cells, greatly increasing the therapeutic effects. This makes them a highly selective therapeutic tool with a high capacity to fight tumors. VCN Biosciences is currently developing their first VCN-01 candidate with application in pancreas, head and neck cancers. VCN-01 uses hyaluronidase technology, which increases the spread of the virus and its anti-tumor effects.

Proof-of-concept tests demonstrating in vivo efficacy of these oncolytic adenoviruses and the selection of a candidate to take into the clinical stages have been carried out thanks to a VALTEC grant from ACC1Ó.

Pancreas cancer has a survival rate of less than one year, as it is normally detected late and is resistant to current treatments. Therefore, the research being carried out by VCN Biosciences can be considered an unmet medical need and an alternative approach to the disease. The western market of drugs to treat this disease moves between €400 and €500 millions yearly, with per patient expenditure ranging from €11,000 to €15,000, according to sources in the company.

VCN Biosciences is a spin-off of the Institut Català d'Oncologia (ICO) that was created in May of 2009 by doctors Gabriel Capellà, Ramon Alemany and Manel Cascalló from ICO-IDIBELL. Currently, Dr. Manel Cascalló is CEO of the company.

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