St Andrews, Scotland – Pneumagen Ltd, focused on treating infectious disease and oncology by targeting the human glycome, today announced it has initiated a new programme to prevent and treat coronavirus COVID-19 infections using its first-in-class Carbohydrate Binding Modules (mCBMs), generated using its proprietary GlycoTarge™ platform.
Pneumagen’s lead mCBM, Neumifil™, is already being developed for the universal treatment of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) including Influenza Virus (IFV) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and now coronaviruses including COVID-19. Neumifil’s novel mechanism of action, masking glycan receptors in patients’ airways and thereby preventing the entry of the virus, has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of RTIs by providing clinicians with the opportunity to offer patients total protection against all viral strains, thus overcoming current vaccine limitations caused by viruses mutating and allowing the treatment to be stockpiled in advance for pandemic use.
Pneumagen has already demonstrated significant preclinical efficacy in several other RTIs caused by viruses, including RSV & IFV, providing the potential for a pan-viral respiratory product. The new programme now seeks to extend this efficacy to coronavirus COVID-19.
Douglas Thomson, CEO of Pneumagen, said: “We’re committed to supporting the global effort to treat the coronavirus pandemic and believe our universal therapeutic modality has the potential to block access to lung cells of the COVID-19 virus that causes respiratory tract infections. This builds on proven pre-clinical efficacy we’ve shown against flu, RSV, parainfluenza, and other viruses. Importantly, this non-vaccine approach should work well in the elderly and immune-compromised, who are the most at risk, and provide immediate protection against infection. With new funding, we would be able to move rapidly into clinical studies. We already have a manufacturing process in place and material for further testing.”
Sir John Skehel FRS FMedSci, a world leader in influenza research, and Pneumagen SAB member, said, “Pneumagen’s GlycoTarge platform provides a novel way of blocking virus transmission and could be an additional line of defence against COVID-19: if the virus is prevented from getting into lung cells its ability to cause disease is reduced.”
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Pneumagen is using its platform technology, GlycoTarge, to develop glycan targeted carbohydrate-binding module domains (mCBMs) derived from bacterial glycosidases as a new universal therapeutic modality for the prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections (RTIs). These engineered mCBMs have been shown to prevent and treat respiratory infections by binding to epithelial cell surface glycan receptors present in the respiratory tract, used by several pathogens for entry.
Pneumagen’s lead product, Neumifil, is a first-in-class mCBM40 being developed for the universal treatment of Influenza Virus (IFV), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and coronavirus COVID-19 infections. When administered intranasally in preclinical models, Neumifil has demonstrated prevention, treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis of IFV and RSV infection with no observed toxicity. Pneumagen’s mCBMs, in development for cancer, are known as Neumonco. In vitro data have demonstrated that mCBMs target cancer cells, reducing cell proliferation, migration, metabolism and differentiation.