Pharma Focus Asia

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Extends Research Collaboration with the University of Alberta to Develop Antiviral Drugs Against SARS-CoV-2

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced it has entered into a license agreement and extended a research collaboration with the University of Alberta, a leading Canadian research university, focused on identifying and testing broad-spectrum antiviral drugs against future variants of SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging viruses.

“We are excited to extend our collaboration with Tom Hobman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Cell Biology, University of Alberta, and to have exercised an option to license the technology,” said Seth Lederman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. “Antiviral therapeutics are needed to mitigate the effects of SARS-CoV-2 and future coronavirus outbreaks, and Professor Hobman’s work is designed to facilitate the identification and testing of novel broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. SARS-CoV-2 is very sensitive to interferon (IFN) treatment and therefore, drugs that upregulate IFN production and/or signaling may reduce virus replication.”

“The research collaboration is focused on the development and testing of Wnt/β-Catenin signaling pathway inhibitors as broad-spectrum antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging viruses,” said Professor Tom Hobman. “During the first phase of the sponsored research, we showed that small molecules that inhibit this pathway also decrease replication of SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA and dramatically reduce infectious viral titers. Drugs in this class seem to work by inducing peroxisome biogenesis, which in turn enhance production of Type I and III IFNs when cells detect viral genetic material. Peroxisomes are key antiviral signaling platforms that are important for IFN induction and antiviral defense. We believe this work has the potential to lead to drugs that limit the spread and disease burden of SARS-CoV-2 and other RNA viruses, which will support the goal of pandemic preparedness.”

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