Volastra is an NYC-based clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of oncology therapeutics targeting chromosomal instability, or CIN, a key vulnerability of cancers.
WHAT IS CIN?A hallmark of cancer, CIN refers to an increased rate of chromosome segregation errors during mitosis. The increased error rate drives structural and numerical changes in the genome which enhance heterogeneity. This heterogeneity gives cancer its ability to adapt and evade the body’s defenses and current medical therapies.
Cancer’s unique vulnerabilities
For well over 100 years, researchers have considered the genomic chaos propagated by cancer cells’ abnormal chromosomes to be an inevitability of the cancer biology.
However, recent advances in science and technology have drastically changed our view of CIN. Simply put, cancer cells with chromosomal instability have key differences from normal human cells. We now understand that these differences are vulnerabilities unique to cancer cells that can be therapeutically targeted.
At Volastra, we are building on the seminal discoveries of our world-class founders and scientific advisors.
Our pioneering research has allowed us to understand CIN and design new medicines for patients with a wide range of difficult-to-treat cancers.
Using our innovative CINtech research strategy, combining proprietary technology, screening techniques, and computational modeling, we are able to measure and characterize chromosome instability in unique ways. This allows us to identify CIN-specific targets matched with new biomarkers to help us select the patients that may benefit most from our therapies.
Volastra’s CINtech lens
We are also applying CINtech to leverage large oncology data sets of well characterized cancer specimens that have been created over the past decades. By using our proprietary insight as a lens through which to interrogate this vast amount of information in ways never done before, we are able to make novel discoveries around cancer cell vulnerabilities.
Our research seeks to exploit the vulnerabilities of chromosomally unstable cancers through two complementary approaches.
Synthetic lethality and immune activation.
Our synthetic lethality approach seeks to directly kill cancer cells by identifying targets that are required by chromosomally unstable cells for survival but not by normal cells.
Our immune activation approach seeks to indirectly kill cancer cells, by identifying targets that re-awaken the immune sensing of chromosomal instability, a process that is actively thwarted in cancer.VIEW OUR PIPELINE
Our Partnerships & Deals
Volastra seeks out partnerships and strategic deals that enhance and expand our existing capabilities with organizations that share our passion for advancing cutting edge science to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
In April 2021, Volastra entered into a partnership with Microsoft that complements both clinical and discovery efforts. Together with Microsoft, we are developing first-in-class, image-based artificial intelligence (AI) models to measure unique aspects of CIN in tumor tissues, supporting target discovery and development of novel biomarkers to guide patient selection.
In March 2022, we entered into a multi-target drug discovery partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, a global leader in cancer therapeutics. This partnership centers around the exploration of chromosomal instability-specific synthetic lethal targets, representing a cutting-edge approach in the fight against cancer. Together with BMS, we are pushing the boundaries of scientific research to uncover innovative and promising avenues for harnessing chromosomal instability in the future treatment of various cancers.
In February 2023, the company completed a deal with Amgen to in-license their innovative KIF18A inhibitor, sovilnesib (formerly AMG650). This agreement provides Volastra with exclusive global rights to develop sovilnesib, providing a second and fully-differentiated KIF18A inhibitor adding to Volastra’s unique clinical stage portfolio targeting chromosomal instability.