MetrioPharm AG, a pharmaceutical company developing drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases, announces the publication of preclinical data showing its lead compound MP1032 could be a promising option for prevention and treatment of the SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine storm. MP1032 is an orally available small molecule drug-candidate that combines localized, auto-regulated ROS-scavenging and immune-modulating effects with specific antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2.
Although most cases of COVID-19 are mild, some patients, especially those from high-risk populations can develop a cytokine storm, which is characterized by a systemic inflammatory response leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome and organ failure. The data has been published in an article on medRxiv today. Peer review and journal publication are in progress. The article outlines how MP1032 exerts potent immune-modulatory, self-regulated reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, and SARS-CoV-2 specific antiviral properties in in-vitro and in preclinical models of inflammation.
Based on these data, MetrioPharm is currently assessing clinical development of MP1032 in COVID-19 patients.
MetrioPharm's CEO, Dr. Wolfgang Brysch, said: “The world is in urgent need of effective treatments for COVID-19. These data show that MP1032 simultaneously addresses several crucial pathophysiological processes of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. While MetrioPharm’s focus remains on developing MP1032 for chronic inflammatory diseases, these data suggest it is also a promising option for prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine storm, which can require hospitalization and be lethal in some patients. We believe it has the potential to make a significant difference to how we address the pandemic, because it may render Covid-19 symptoms mild, even in high-risk patients, and keeping them out of hospital by reducing both the severity and lethality of the disease. We are now seeking to confirm this hypothesis in a clinical setting.”
In an in vitro model, Vero B4 cells were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and treated with MP1032. Three days post-infection, virus production was analyzed and MP1032 treatment led to a strong, dose-dependent and statistically significant reduction of SARS-CoV-2 replication. Importantly, MP1032 had no toxic effect on uninfected Vero B4 cells. In addition, in preclinical models of inflammation, MP1032 statistically significantly reduced lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation, which is physiologically similar to the type of inflammation observed during the cytokine storm in some Covid-19 infections.