Virobay Facts

2014 – Virobay to present data on two Cathepsin S inhibitor programs in neuropathic pain and Alzheimer's disease at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting more

2014 – Virobay completes $8 million Series B preferred stock financing more

2014 – Virobay appoints Thomas J. Dietz, Ph.D. to the Virobay Board of Directors more


About Virobay

We are a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company utilizing our cysteine cathepsin platform for the development and commercialization of novel drugs. We believe cysteine cathepsins are critically important enzymes in the biology of many diseases. By inhibiting these enzymes we believe we can develop safer and more effective therapies for these diseases. Our current programs are focused on addressing significant unmet medical needs for the treatment of neuropathic pain, autoimmune diseases and fibrosis.

Our most advanced product candidate, VBY-891, which we are developing in partnership with LEO Pharma A/S, or LEO, and is scheduled to enter into Phase 2 clinical trials for psoriasis in the third quarter of 2015. We also have three earlier stage product candidates directed towards primary biliary cirrhosis, or PBC, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, with VBY-825. In addition, we have VBY-036 that is targeting neuropathic pain and autoimmune diseases, and VBY-376 targeting fibrotic liver disease. We retain worldwide rights to all indications with VBY-825, VBY-036 and VBY-376.

Cathepsins are enzymes that regulate essential processes in cells by cleaving certain proteins. Over the past 20 years, substantial evidence suggests that in many diseases, the normal function of cathepsins becomes pathological, contributing to or causing disease. Although the long-term effects of cathepsin inhibition are unknown, and may include risks such as target-based toxicity, we believe cathepsins are attractive targets for small molecule drug design because of their important roles in disease and well characterized structures. Others have attempted to develop compounds that inhibit cathepsins but have had limited success due to lack of potency and toxicity. One source of toxicity now known in scientific literature is that certain chemical groups used in some cathepsin inhibitors can cause accumulation in an important cellular compartment known as the lysosome. By eliminating these chemical groups from our inhibitors we addressed this specific toxicity issue. Furthermore, we designed and selected our compounds with extremely high potency. Applying our decades of experience in the discovery and development of cathepsin inhibitors, we believe we have potent candidates that do not accumulate in the lysosome. By removing the chemical groups associated with toxicity and by targeting highly potent compounds we believe our compounds have a greater likelihood of success in clinical trials.

We believe our product candidates have one or more of the following attributes that will commercially differentiate them from existing and emerging therapies:

  • Enhanced efficacy gained by treating the underlying causes rather than addressing the symptoms of the disease;
  • Reduced side effect profiles; and
  • Convenience and cost advantages of oral therapies.

The foundation of our proprietary cathepsin platform and our management team were spun-out from Celera Genomics Corporation, or Celera, which was then a leader in cathepsin research. In the addition to our platform, Celera research produced ibrutinib, the Brutonís tyrosine kinase inhibitor, developed by Pharmacyclics, Inc. for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma and collaborated on the discovery of odanacatib, a cathepsin K inhibitor being developed by Merck for treatment of osteoporosis.