Pharma Focus Asia

CYTOVIA Therapeutics and MACROMOLTEK to Develop Dual-Acting Natural Killer Immunotherapy Against SARS CoV2 (COVID-19)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Cytovia Therapeutics, an emerging biopharmaceutical company developing Natural Killer (NK) immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases, announced today that it is expanding its programs to help urgently address the current SAR CoV2 (COVID-19) crisis.

Natural Killer cells are a first line of defense not only against tumor cells but also against severe acute infectious diseases. Using a bi-functional approach has the potential to minimize virus escape from the immune response thereby inhibiting the intensification of the inflammation leading to Acute Respiratory Syndrome (ARS). The activation of NK cells through the NKp46 receptor aims to destroy the virus-infected cells while the other arm can either block the entry of the virus into epithelial cells or neutralize circulating viruses.

Dr Daniel Teper, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Cytovia said: “Our goal is to bring the best candidate to clinical trials by the end of the year 2020 and make it available to patients in 2021. As we become more prepared for potential next waves of the pandemic, physicians will need therapeutic options to strengthen the immune response and prevent rapid worsening of the disease. We expect that our novel approach might also be applied in the future to other severe acute infectious diseases, an area that still has significant unmet medical needs. Partnering with Macromoltek will fast-track this process.”

Dr Monica Berrondo, co-founder and CEO of Macromoltek added: “Our computational approach to antibody design allows to fast track the development of optimal therapeutic candidates in weeks rather than months. In the fight against SARS CoV2, time is of the essence. We are delighted to be part of a multi-disciplinary team passionate about winning the race against the virus with novel therapeutic solutions.”

Cytovia will lead a highly coordinated team of scientific collaborators in order to achieve aggressive timelines for its COVID-19 therapeutic program. Cytovia will leverage its own proprietary bi-functional technology, developed by co-founder Dr Kadouche, NK activating antibodies licensed last month from Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and novel antibodies neutralizing or blocking SARS CoV2, designed by Macromoltek, a computational antibody discovery company. The selected bi-functional antibodies will further benefit from the “Fast to Clinic” approach implemented by STC Biologics, a Boston, MA based antibody development and manufacturing company.

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