About OncoGenex


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About OncoGenex

OncoGenex is a biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of new therapies that address treatment resistance in cancer patients. OncoGenex has a diverse oncology pipeline with each product candidate having a distinct mechanism of action and representing a unique opportunity for cancer drug development. Custirsen is currently in Phase 3 clinical development as a treatment in men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer and in patients with advanced, unresectable non-small cell lung cancer. Apatorsen is in Phase 2 clinical development and OGX-225 is currently in preclinical development.

About Cancer Treatment Resistance

Despite the availability of drugs that improve survival in patients with cancer, treatment failure attributed to resistance continues to be a major problem in medical oncology. Across multiple tumor types, the majority of patients with cancer are likely to face treatment resistance at some point. Cancer cells may be intrinsically resistant to treatment (primary resistance), or they may acquire mechanisms that allow survival (acquired resistance). Initial treatment may result in residual disease that gives rise to treatment-resistant tumors and eventually contributes to disease relapse.

OncoGenex: Addressing an Unsolved Problem in Medical Oncology

Given the widespread problem of treatment resistance in oncology, new strategies are needed to overcome resistance with the goal of providing long-term remissions. OncoGenex has focused its efforts on meeting the challenge of cancer treatment resistance through the development of novel therapeutics that target important mechanisms of treatment resistance in cancer with the potential to redefine treatment outcomes for patients with a variety of cancers.

A number of biochemical mechanisms have been proposed to contribute to treatment resistance. Our lead investigational compounds are designed to address two such targets, clusterin and Hsp27.

Custirsen is a highly specific clusterin inhibitor designed to improve survival in patients with advanced cancer by disabling a fundamental cellular repair mechanism used by tumor cells. Custirsen binds to clusterin mRNA to block the production of clusterin protein and has enhanced the tumor cell destructive effects of multiple anti-cancer therapies across a variety of tumor models. By inhibiting clusterin, custirsen is designed to alter tumor dynamics by slowing tumor growth and inhibiting tumor resistance to partner treatments, so that the benefits of therapy, including survival, may be extended.

Learn more about custirsen

Apatorsen (OGX-427) is an experimental drug designed to inhibit the production of Hsp27, a protein that is elevated in many cancers and that has been shown to promote cancer cell growth and tumor metastasis. Hsp27 protects cancer cells by helping them survive, leading to treatment resistance and more aggressive cancer phenotypes. Overexpression of Hsp27 has been observed in many types of cancers, including bladder, lung, pancreatic and prostate.

Learn more about apatorsen

Our History

OncoGenex was established in May 2000 as a spin out from the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia. It was co-founded by Dr. Martin Gleave, the Company’s scientific founder and Chief Scientific Advisor, and Scott Cormack, OncoGenex’ President and CEO, initially to develop and commercialize custirsen (OGX-011), which was discovered at the Prostate Centre by Dr. Gleave and his colleagues.

OncoGenex’ headquarters and clinical and regulatory teams are located in Bothell, Washington. The office of the CEO and other critical business functions remain in Vancouver, ensuring OncoGenex’ continued partnership with the University of British Columbia and leading cancer researchers. This also allows us to forgo the need to establish a pre-clinical infrastructure and maintains financial efficiencies.

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3


Prostate cancer

Combination with 2nd-line chemotherapy (AFFINITY)

Non-small cell lung cancer

Combination with 2nd-line chemotherapy (ENSPIRIT)


Bladder cancer


Combination with 1st-Line Chemo (metastatic) (Borealis-1™)

Combination with 2nd-Line Chemo (metastatic) (Borealis-2™)

Non-squamous non–small cell lung cancer

Combination with 1st-line chemotherapy (advanced) (Spruce™)

Squamous non–small cell lung cancer

Combination with 1st-line chemotherapy (advanced) (Spruce-2™)

Pancreatic cancer

Combination with 1st-line chemotherapy (metastatic) (Rainier™)

Prostate cancer

Combination with prednisone (pre-chemo)

Combination with abiraterone acetate (pre- or post-chemo) (Pacific™)


Solid tumors

Current as of January 2015.

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