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OncoGenex’ mission is to meet the challenge of treatment resistance through the development and commercialization of first-in-class, innovative therapies that have the potential to redefine treatment outcomes for patients with a variety of cancers.
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 an experimental drug designed to block the production of clusterin, a cytoprotective protein which is upregulated in tumor cells in response to treatment interventions such as chemotherapy, hormone ablation and radiation therapy and has been found to be overexpressed in a number of cancers, including prostate, lung, breast and bladder. Increased clusterin production has been linked to faster rates of cancer progression, treatment resistance and shorter survival duration.
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
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.
Scott Cormack, President and CEO
"Tumors have the ability to adapt and change, so patients develop resistance to treatments over time. We identify the mechanisms by which tumors become resistant and target them to make existing therapy more effective."