Halozyme’s primary technology is based on its proprietary recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme (rHuPH20) that degrades hyaluronan, or HA. HA is a glycosaminoglycan, a chain of natural sugars that is a component of normal tissue, such as skin and cartilage and can also accumulate around many solid cancerous tumors.
Halozyme’s rHuPH20 is a naturally occurring enzyme that temporarily degrades HA, thereby facilitating the dispersion and absorption of other drugs and fluids that are injected under the skin. In our oncology programs, we PEGylate the enzyme and administer it via intravenous injection, allowing it to circulate longer in the body where it helps degrade HA in the tumor micro environment. PEGylation is the process of coupling polyethylene glycol molecules to a protein, like rHuPH20, in order to increase the protein’s circulating half-life, or exposure. In animal models, the HA degradation leads to reduced tumor pressure, restores blood flow and aids the circulation of co-administered chemotherapies or immunotherapies.