ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND, Jan. 28 / PRNewswire / – With just a tenth the size of conventional antibodies, new VNAR biologics could be used both to treat and protect against SARSCoV-2 infections.
Elasmogen Ltd, the pioneering biopharmaceutical company leading the development of the VNAR and soloMER (TM) biologics, today announces a major breakthrough in the identification of next generation protein-based drugs that have the potential to treat COVID-19 Stop infections. This new approach was achieved through a close partnership with the University of Minnesota, USA, and is an excellent example of the new spirit of research collaboration that has accelerated the global fight against COVID-19. The start-up funding for this work came from the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Group and was coordinated by the University of Aberdeen.
The newly identified anti-COVID-19 spike protein VNARs block infection of the virus (in live virus assays) at doses as low as 200 ppm, which is on par with the best antibodies known and much better than many others. What is particularly exciting about Elasmogen’s group of active ingredients, however, is that they are only a tenth the size of large and complex (to be produced) human antibodies and can therefore be administered to the patient via alternative routes of administration, e.g. B. directly into the nose and throat instead of about Injections, could be delivered.
A key advantage of Elasmogen’s VNAR platform is the ability to bind to its target at sites that are inaccessible to human antibodies, which in many cases leads to increased efficacy and specificity against the disease. By crystallizing the conductive VNAR as it binds to the receptor binding domain of the COVID-19 spike protein, the team was able to demonstrate that the VNARs bind the virus / receptor interface in a region that is different from the published antibodies, and so the Effectively block infection. Computer modeling has shown that this interaction will not be weakened if the VNAR is to be used to block infections from the Kent or South African strains, although this has not yet been proven experimentally.
Dr. Caroline Barelle (CEO and CSO, Elasmogen Ltd) explains: “ The se robust little proteins originate in the immune system of sharks and have been specially trained over 400 million years of evolution to recognize niches and furrows in proteins as part of the animals’ defense against infection Elasmogen has succeeded in using the latest protein and genetic engineering to record the immune system of 10,000 shark equivalents in a test tube. We then examined them for VNAR binders that block the virus infection and are very satisfied with the results. “
Professor Aaron LeBeau (University of Minnesota Medical School, Department of Pharmacology): “Determining the structure of protein complexes by X-ray crystallography is often an arduous process that takes months to years to get a structure. We were particularly pleased that we were in this way were able to obtain a high-resolution crystal structure in a short time, which was mainly due to the high solubility of the VNAR. Our structure was very informative and documented that the VNAR binds to the receptor binding domain via a novel mode that neutralizes the virus infection. It was clear that the VNAR advanced into areas that large human antibodies and even small single-domain camelid antibodies could not access. “
Prof. Andy Porter (Chief Technology Officer, Elasmogen Ltd): “In the past we have used our drug discovery platform to successfully select potent cancer drugs, but we are grateful to the Scottish Government for funding Elasmogen Ltd to find out whether the power of our platform can be used in the potential fight against COVID-19 infections. As the world begins to see a way out of the pandemic, it should be remembered that a small but significant subset of patients because of their underlying diseases are not will respond effectively to vaccines, so it is vital that we continue drug development approaches in parallel with global vaccination. “
Elasmogen was founded in 2016 as a spin-off from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, developing soloMERs (TM); fully humanized (or de-immunized) VNARs, as next-generation single chain therapeutics for autoinflammatory diseases, oncology and intracellular administration. soloMERs (TM) are proprietary humanized clinical candidates derived from Variable New-Antigen Receptors (VNARs) that are naturally found in the shark’s immune system as high-affinity, antibody-like binding domains. This example of 400 million year old convergent evolution, with origins other than antibodies, positions VNARs outside the complex patent landscape that describes and protects the development of antibody drugs and is the smallest (9% the size of an antibody) and most robust of course occurring binding domains in the animal kingdom. Elasmogen is unique in its ability to isolate and develop SoloMERs and has a multi-faceted position in the intellectual property rights space that covers the platform, humanization, formats, products and process, including over 25 patents contained in the USA, Europe and other areas have been granted.
The company is leveraging its expertise in early and later preclinical development to rapidly advance a range of new, locally administered protein products for autoinflammatory diseases. In addition, Elasmogen works with a number of high-profile biopharmaceutical partners and academics to take full advantage of the therapeutic opportunities offered by its technology.
The se collaborations focus on the targeted administration of chemotoxins via soloMERs (TM) directly into cells, creating novel drugs for difficult-to-treat solid tumors.
Inquiries & contact:
Company contact: Caroline Barelle
Elasmogen. Tel. : +44 (0)1224 438545
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Elasmogen announces number effective antiCOVID19 therapy candidates identified collaboration research partners