HOX targeted appoach

First-in-class highly targeted cancer therapy, based on HOX gene dysregulation

HOX genes are developmental genes involved in the orchestration of organ development in the embryo. They are present in all vertebrates and typically they become inactive shortly after birth. However, in cancer, they appear to become overexpressed.

Development strategy

HOX’s strategy in prostate cancer is to prioritise the development of its dual androgen receptor programme using internal resources while seeking partnerships to progress its HOX-targeted approach.    

The team identified two peptide inhibitors (HXR9 and HTL-001) of HOX/PBX interactions that have demonstrated efficacy across a wide range of cancer cell lines and in animal models. 

Using these experimental molecules as evidence that the approach is viable, we propose to develop a small molecule inhibitor of the HOX/PBX interaction as a novel, first-in-class, chemotherapeutic. Currently, there are no competitors targeting HOX/PBX interactions as a therapeutic. In December 2019, the Company was awarded a highly regarded grant from Innovate UK, in a highly competitive peer review process, providing external validation of the innovative scientific path we are taking. 

HTL-001 is being developed to target Hox gene dysregulation in the prostate when delivered by intratumoral injection.