The PACA technology is based on use of polymeric nanoparticles, and the lead candidate PACAB-001 is intended for treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) originating from ovarian and colorectal cancer. PC, also referred to as cancer metastasis in peritoneum, is one of the most serious complications of gastrointestinal and gynaecological malignancies, and the survival rates of these patients are poor as a large proportion of patients often experience peritoneal relapses (1) and resistance to subsequent chemotherapy.
PACAB-001 is a PACA nanoparticle product loaded with cabazitaxel, intended for local administration in the peritoneal cavity, that can represent a safer and more efficient treatment of PC. Cabazitaxel is a highly potent taxane with cytotoxic activity against a broad range of cancers, but severe side effects and very low solubility has limited its clinical use. There is therefore an urgent need for the development of alternative formulations. A key feature of PACAB-001 is its unique ability to attach to body membranes, hence increasing the penetration, absorption, and retention of the drug. These unique properties are expected to ensure high local accumulation of the drug at the tumour site and hence increase the efficacy and minimize the systemic drug toxicity.
The potential of PACAB-001 has recently been verified in preclinical safety and efficacy studies. PACAB-001 resulted in reduced burden of the drug compared to the commercially available drug Jevtana® ("free" cabazitaxel), and studies in mouse models of PC have shown that PACAB-001 selectively accumulates in tumours following peritoneal injection, resulting in a tenfold increase in drug concentration in tumours compared to free drug. This high accumulation resulted in better treatment efficacy (Fig 1), confirming the potency of this novel drug delivery system.
We are currently in the process of establishing a commercial spin-off company that can translate PACAB-001 and potential pipeline candidates into the clinic and subsequently to the market, focusing on hard-to-treat cancers of high unmet medical need. The ambition is to establish the company early 2022 together with potential co-investors.