Our Foundation

Aura Biosciences was created to revolutionize the treatment of cancer through a new class of medicines that kill cancer cells selectively, while sparing surrounding tissue. Our technology use exquisite selectivity to deliver potent therapies directly where they are needed, without the limitations brought by lack of tumor specificity.

Our most advanced platform builds on core discoveries made by Dr. John T. Schiller at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), who demonstrated that virus-like particles modeled on the human papilloma virus will selectively attach to solid tumors and metastases without binding to normal epithelium. Dr. Schiller and Dr. Doug Lowy, also at NCI, were jointly awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama in 2014.

Building on Dr. Schiller’s core discovery, we have engineered viral nanoparticle conjugates (VNCs) that deliver potent cytotoxic therapies that can selectively eliminate cancer cells through ophthalmic laser activation in the back of the eye, without damaging the retina or other ocular structures. This selective binding and tumor elimination has been demonstrated in animal tumor models that accurately reproduce the biology of the human disease, and clinical testing is currently underway. Beyond this initial application, Aura is advancing this approach in a variety of other cancers, including, bladder, and head and neck, where there is a high unmet medical need for better local targeted therapies that can eliminate the current co-morbidities of surgery and radiotherapy.