Circio and Neoregen Biotech today announce the start of a research collaboration on novel circular RNA (circRNA) therapeutics based on Circio´s proprietary circVec technology. The parties will test the ability of Neoregen´s NICT (Neoregen Intra-Cellular delivery Technology) delivery system to enhance cellular uptake and nuclear transfer of circVec vectors compared to commercially available delivery technologies.
circRNA is an emerging class of novel RNA-therapeutics that offers improved durability and enhanced protein expression compared to mRNA. Due to these potentially significant advantages, circRNA has attracted significant funding and partnering transactions in the last two years. Circio is the leader in vector-delivery of circRNA based on its proprietary circVec technology, a DNA-based vector platform that enables high-yield intra-cellular expression of circRNAs for therapeutic applications. Intra-cellular expression of circRNA increases durability and protein expression compared to both synthetic LNP-delivered circRNA or mRNA, thereby offering potentially significant advantages in gene therapy, vaccines and cancer. The circVec technology is based on over ten years of research and is composed of a modular genetic cassette design for efficient biogenesis of multifunctional circRNAs that can be adapted and applied to multiple purposes.
Neoregen’s NICT platform technology is a novel peptide-based chemistry suitable for delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics. This technology enables the development of drugs for targets that were previously inaccessible using conventional methods and can also significantly improve the efficacy and safety of existing treatments. While many previously developed cell-penetrating peptides failed to achieve Endosome Escape, a crucial step for drug delivery, Neoregen’s technology has demonstrated superior results in animal experiments compared to competitors. Currently, discussions are underway for various forms of collaboration in this regard.
Dr. Jeong-Min, Seo CEO of Neoregen Biotech, stated, “Through this collaboration, we believe our peptide-based next-generation drug delivery system can overcome the limitations of existing mRNA-based therapeutic technologies and provide better delivery of innovative novel RNA therapeutics, bringing innovation to the biopharma industry.”
Dr. Erik Digman Wiklund, CEO of Circio Holding ASA, added: “Synthetic DNA vectors hold major promise as durable protein replacement therapies for genetic diseases. However, efficient delivery to target tissues, and uptake into the cell nucleus, remain a technical challenge. Neoregen offers a unique solution to tackle this problem, and we are very excited to collaborate and develop novel NICT-delivered circVec therapeutic candidates.”
For further information, please contact:
Erik Digman Wiklund, CEO
Phone: +47 413 33 536
Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624
Building next generation RNA therapeutics
Circio Holding ASA is a biotechnology company developing novel circular RNA and immunotherapy medicines.
Circio has established a unique circular RNA (circRNA) platform to develop novel circRNA medicines for cancer, vaccines, rare disease, protein replacement therapy and cell therapy. The proprietary circVec technology is based on a modular genetic cassette design for efficient biogenesis of multifunctional circRNA that can be deployed for many purposes. The most advanced concept, circAde, builds on the company´s validated adenovirus platform to deliver circRNA for durable expression of therapeutic proteins directly into cancer cells. This unique approach is the only currently known circRNA program capable of targeting solid tumors. The circVec platform has broad potential applications, and Circio´s strategy is to generate one or more lead candidates for in house development in specific disease indications and in parallel seek partnerships for other technical applications and therapeutic areas. The circRNA R&D activities are being conducted by the wholly owned subsidiary Circio AB based at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
In addition to Circio’s circRNA program, the Company’s’ clinical stage immunotherapy programs are designed to activate the patient´s own immune system to fight cancer cells and provide benefit to patients with no or few treatment alternatives. ONCOS-102 has demonstrated an excellent safety profile, strong immune responses and clinical efficacy in several cancer types in Phase 1/2 studies, both as monotherapy and in combinations with checkpoint inhibitors or standard-of-care chemotherapy. A phase 2 trial to confirm the therapeutic activity of ONCOS-102 in melanoma patients resistant to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor treatment has been designed, and Circio is seeking external financing and/or partnerships to continue the clinical development.
Circio’s second clinical stage program is an immunotherapy targeting KRAS driver mutations. TG01 has previously shown robust immune responses and encouraging clinical benefit in surgically resected pancreatic cancer and is currently being tested in two clinical trials in RAS-mutated pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma in the USA and Norway. These studies are being run through academic collaborative networks, supported by prestigious research grants from Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council, creating broad future optionality for the TG01 program at low cost to Circio.