ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM), the specialist drug discovery and development company, today provided a progress update on activities around Covid-19.
On 30 March 2020, ImmuPharma announced that it had expanded its pipeline to include three new ‘Anti-Infective’ programs, one of which was in ‘Antivirals’. Investigation of the application of the Ureka peptide technologies within this Antivirals program suggests the potential to create effective anti-fusion peptides with the goal to prevent virus entry into the host cells, which may lead to novel peptide based antiviral therapies. Further exploratory work continues on this program.
As part of an overall evaluation of how we might apply our patented technologies to the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic, within our ‘Autoimmunity’ therapy area, we have also been considering the unique way that Lupuzor™ interacts with the immune system and any potential application to Covid-19.
In this respect we note the results* of a recent study conducted at Emory University Atlanta GA, suggesting that Covid-19 (SARS-COV-2) patients and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients experiencing flares might share similar inflammatory symptoms, underpinned by similar mechanisms (role of cytokines). Lupuzor™ is a modulator of the immune response and an anti-inflammatory agent, which has activity against SLE (lupus), an autoimmune disease, as well as against other inflammatory diseases. ImmuPharma, together with its US licencing partner, Avion Pharmaceuticals, will be progressing Lupuzor™ into a new optimised international Phase III trial this year in lupus patients.
*“Critically ill SARS-CoV-2 patients display lupus-like hallmarks of extraordinary B cell activation” -https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.29.20083717.
Given the findings of the Atlanta research group, we postulate that Lupuzor™ may help to reduce or perhaps prevent the occurrence of the cytokine storm seen in Covid-19 patients. Further exploratory work is ongoing to assess Lupuzor’s™ possible potential and clinical program in Covid-19 patients.
Commenting on the announcement, Dimitri Dimitriou, CEO and Dr Robert Zimmer, President & CSO of ImmuPharma said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded, ImmuPharma has been evaluating how it can best contribute its expertise and resources to help in the global response. Using our longstanding knowledge of peptide based technology, provides us with a number of opportunities, to help bring together a therapy that could be effective against the inflammation that causes the serious complications of Covid-19. We look forward to providing further updates when appropriate”.