Emerging Company ProfilePeregrine: Starving tumors to death

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. is stalking an elusive and virtually indefatigable prey - solid tumors - using a new technology, vascular targeting agents (VTAs), to destroy the vascular infrastructure a tumor needs to survive.

Jennifer Lobo, a venture capitalist and a founder of Domain Associates, spent more than a year searching for a technology with promise in treating solid tumors. Lobo's search led to VTAs and to Philip Thorpe, a pioneer in VTA development. The two of them founded Peregrine.

Conventional chemotherapeutic agents attack tumors from the outside and face great difficulty penetrating solid tumors. VTAs work from the inside out, homing to the capillaries and vessels of solid tumors and acting on the endothelial cells that line the vessels. Once there, VTAs block the flow of oxygen and nutrients to underlying tissue by activating a thrombotic pathway. Within hours, clots form and the underlying tissue begins to necrose.

Twinned agents

VTAs consist of a targeting