Oncolytic adenovirus with hyaluronidase activity that evades neutralizing antibodies: VCN-11

J Control Release. 2021 Apr 10:332:517-528. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2021.02.035. Epub 2021 Mar 3.


Tumor targeting and intratumoral virus spreading are key features for successful oncolytic virotherapy. VCN-11 is a novel oncolytic adenovirus, genetically modified to express hyaluronidase (PH20) and display an albumin-binding domain (ABD) on the hexon. ABD allows the virus to self-coat with albumin when entering the bloodstream and evade neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). Here, we validate VCN-11 mechanism of action and characterize its toxicity. VCN-11 replication, hyaluronidase activity and binding to human albumin to evade NAbs was evaluated. Toxicity and efficacy of VCN-11 were assessed in mice and hamsters. Tumor targeting, and antitumor activity was analyzed in the presence of NAbs in several tumor models. VCN-11 induced 450 times more cytotoxicity in tumor cells than in normal cells. VCN-11 hyaluronidase production was confirmed by measuring PH20 activity in vitro and in virus-infected tumor areas in vivo. VCN-11 evaded NAbs from different sources and tumor targeting was demonstrated in the presence of high levels of NAbs in vivo, whereas the control virus without ABD was neutralized. VCN-11 showed a low toxicity profile in athymic nude mice and Syrian hamsters, allowing treatments with high doses and fractionated administrations without major toxicities (up to 1.2x1011vp/mouse and 7.5x1011vp/hamster). Fractionated intravenous administrations improved circulation kinetics and tumor targeting. VCN-11 antitumor efficacy was demonstrated in the presence of NAbs against Ad5 and itself. Oncolytic adenovirus VCN-11 disrupts tumor matrix and displays antitumor effects even in the presence of NAbs. These features make VCN-11 a safe promising candidate to test re-administration in clinical trials.

Keywords: Adenovirus; Dose fractionation; Hyaluronidase; Neutralizing antibodies; Oncolytic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cricetinae
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy*
  • Oncolytic Viruses* / genetics
  • Virus Replication
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase