Six questions and answers by MetrioPharm CEO Dr. Wolfgang Brysch on the compound MP1032 in COVID-19
Is MetrioPharm developing a compound for the treatment of COVID-19?
Wolfgang Brysch: We are developing our lead compound MP1032 for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, with the molecule targeting oxidative stress. Oxidative stress also plays a central role in COVID-19 disease. So there is a strong rationale for MP1032 to have a positive effect in the treatment of COVID-19.
How is the MP1032 molecule expected to work in COVID-19 patients?
Wolfgang Brysch: When infected with the coronavirus, the body’s immune system is over-activated. This leads to oxidative stress in the immune cells, resulting in a strong inflammatory reaction. This inflammation in turn increases the oxidative stress. This can lead to a vicious cycle, the symptoms become increasingly severe and can ultimately lead to cell damage, respiratory distress and even death. MP1032 aims to reduce the reactive oxygen species, ROS. They are the trigger for oxidative stress. The objective of treatment is to break the vicious cycle early-on and to stabilize the immune system.
Would a treatment also have an effect on the virus itself?
Wolfgang Brysch: Yes, this is a very recent finding: we have infected cells with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, commonly known as corona virus, and then treated them with MP1032. We saw a dose-dependent and statistically significant reduction in SARS-CoV-2 replication. Our molecule could therefore also reduce the viral load of patients and thus additionally curb disease progression.
For which patients would MP1032 be suitable?
Wolfgang Brysch: We expect MP1032 to be suitable for a very large number of patients. We have clinically tested our molecule in psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease. It has repeatedly shown an exceptionally good safety profile. In other words, we have treated over onehundred patients with different doses of MP1032 and have not seen any severe drug related events. We currently assume that it will be possible to treat elderly and at-risk patients. The aim would be to quickly stabilize patients, avert hospital admissions and intensive care treatments, and reduce the burden on the healthcare systems.
Are there other drugs available combining these properties?
Wolfgang Brysch: There are currently no other drugs available that combat the disease while at the same time reducing the viral load. Nor is there any prospect in the foreseeable future of approval for another compound with these two characteristics.
What are the next steps for MetrioPharm?
Wolfgang Brysch: Safe and effective therapies are urgently needed to contain the pandemic and reduce the burden on healthcare systems. This could also allow for a return to normalcy, at least in the longer term. We are well aware of this situation and intend to accelerate the clinical development of MP1032. We have strong preclinical data and also good experience with MP1032 in treating patients. These are good prerequisites for a promising development.