Virus-like Drug Conjugation (VDC)

Virus-like Drug Conjugation (VDC)

As a leading service provider focused on drug development, BOC Sciences has been supporting customers at the forefront of drug conjugates. Virus-like nanoparticles show promising promise in targeted drug delivery. We provide virus-like drug conjugation services to meet your unique project needs. Our comprehensive VDC platform will provide quality services to assist our clients in drug development.

Find out more with Drug Conjugation Services.


Targeted delivery has long been most challenging for improving the treatment of diseases. Nanoparticles (NPs) as targeted delivery vehicles for therapeutic cargo have been examined. The virus-like particles (VLPs), the emerging technology for targeted therapeutic delivery, are protein-based NPs derived from viral capsids that have the potential to overcome the limitations of other NPs, such as particle instability, slow and nonuniform drug release, and potential immunogenicity. VLPs can be classified as: animal virus-based VLPs (e.g. human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV)), bacteriophage-based VLPs (e.g. MS2, Qβ, P22), and plant virus-based VLPs (e.g. cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (CCMV), cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV)).

Virus-like Drug Conjugation (VDC)Fig. 1 Targeted delivery of VLPs (Rohovie, 2017).

Virus-like drug conjugates (VDCs) use VLP as an efficient delivery vehicle to deliver payloads such as chemotherapeutic drugs, siRNA, RNA aptamers, proteins, peptides, and fluorescent probes. Based on the ability of VLPs to selectively recognize many targets, VDCs have the potential to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells.

The advantages of VDCs:

  • can load small molecules, nucleic acids, and proteins
  • can deliver numbers of payloads in a single VDC
  • can be functionalized on the surface of VLP
  • can selectively recognize overexpressed targets on cancer cells
  • limiting off-target toxicity

Our Methods

  • The VLP surface can be extensively modified with various biomolecules to achieve specific cellular targeting and reduce immune responses.
  • The VLPs have been used to load a range of molecules by covalent and noncovalent methods. Most covalent methods for cargo loading take advantage of reactive amino acids, some use genetic fusions to the primary amino acid sequence.
Conjugation methodsCargoVLPs
Electrostatic adsorptionRNA, DNA, Proflavin, Acridine orangeHBVc, CCMV, CPMV
Passive encapsidationGreen fluorescent protein, Horseradish peroxidaseHBVc, CCMV, CPMV
Genetic fusionNuclease, RNA, CRISPR, GFPHBVc, MS2, P22, CCMV
Conjugated to cysteinesTaxol, Fluorescent probes, PorphyrinMS2, P22, CPMV
Conjugated to tyrosinesFluoresceinMS2
Conjugated to aspartates or glutamatesDoxorubicinCPMV
Conjugated to stem-loop RNADoxorubicin, Ricin toxin, HIV-1 Tat peptide, Quantum dotMS2
Click chemistryMethacrylate, Gd(DOTA)Qβ, CCMV
Adsorption to stem-loop RNAFluorescent proteins, Luciferase
Coordinated by genomic RNAGd(III), Tb(III)CPMV

Applications of VDC

Currently, efforts toward to stabilize VLPs, avoid phagocytes, target specific cells, escape endosome, and release cargo still need to be continued. Although VDC targeted drug delivery remains a nascent technology that requires further studies to prove its clinical efficacy, significant progress has been made. At the recently concluded 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting, a novel virus-like drug conjugate, AU-011, was disclosed to be in clinical development in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor for the treatment of early-stage choroidal melanoma. This combination therapy had an effect not only on primary tumors but also on distant.

Our Advantages

  • Optional VDC targeted delivery cargo
  • Various VLP surface functionalized methods
  • A wide range of characteristic analysis
  • People and suites that specialize in VDC
  • Data analysis, detailed report with results and discussion
  • Cost-effective and high-quality products


  1. Rohovie, M. J., Nagasawa, M., and Swartz, J. R., Virus-like particles: Next-generation nanoparticles for targeted therapeutic delivery, Bioeng. Transl. Med., 2017, 2, 43-57.

* Please kindly note that our services can only be used to support research purposes (Not for clinical use).
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