Complix receives €1.2 million VLAIO grant to develop a novel and differentiated class of anti-Covid-19 Alphabody™ therapeutics
Anti-viral Alphabodies act by inhibiting viral cell fusion
New class of Alphabodies with prophylactic and therapeutic potential
Hasselt, Belgium, September 7, 2020 – Complix, a biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of transformative Alphabody therapeutics announces that it has been awarded a €1.2 million grant (approximately USD$1.4 million) from the Flanders government through the Flemish Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). This grant will allow Complix to accelerate the discovery and development of a novel and differentiating class of Alphabody based therapeutics against coronavirus infections.
Alphabodies represent an ideal scaffold to target the viral cell fusion mechanism based on their exceptional biophysical and structural properties. The cell fusion mechanism is an essential step in the infection process and is highly conserved throughout the Coronaviruses family.
As a result, Complix´ program holds the promise of yielding potent anti-viral compounds, with both prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy, not only against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing the current COVID-19 pandemic) but also against future emerging coronavirus variants or mutants.
Ignace Lasters, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Complix, said: “We are pleased to have received this grant from VLAIO which recognizes the unique and highly relevant properties of our Alphabodies as well as our past experience in the anti-viral area. We have crafted a strategy that would allow the development of a novel class of broadly active Alphabody therapeutics that exhibit “cross-reactivity” against both the current SARS-CoV-2 strain as well as potential future mutants. We are extremely proud and confident that our Alphabody platform will enable us to play an important role in the development of new therapeutic strategies to help combat not only the current pandemic, but also have the potential to address future waves of infections caused by new variants of this virus that are likely to emerge in the coming years.”
Complix is collaborating with two internationally renowned research groups to execute its ambitious anti-viral Alphabody program:
- the team of Prof Savvas Savides at the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research, who will focus on the 3D-structure determination of the Alphabody-viral protein complex; and
- the team of Prof Johan Neyts at the Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, who will participate in the functional characterization of the anti-viral compounds.
Complix expects to provide a further update on the pre-clinical development of its Alphabody therapeutics targeting SARS-CoV-2 in the coming months.
The current Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, represents an unprecedented threat to global health and places an enormous stress on healthcare systems. It has triggered a worldwide race towards the development of protective vaccines and therapeutic proteins such as antibodies against this virus. Most of these efforts are targeting the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein (S protein), addressing the receptor-binding domain of the spike S1 subunit. This is a valid approach, although it may lead to a selection pressure for mutants that escape these first-generation inhibitors.
Complix is a biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of transformative AlphabodyTM based therapeutics against a number of cutting-edge and challenging disease targets that play an important role in viral diseases, oncology and autoimmunity.
The Alphabody’s triple-stranded alpha-helical coiled structure, invented by the scientific founders of Complix more than 10 years ago, was inspired by certain class I viral proteins that drive the fusion process leading to cell entry by viruses such as HIV, RSV and Influenza. This close structural similarity makes Alphabodies an ideal scaffold to design potent inhibitors of viral entry, by interfering with the viral fusion machinery. This novel approach has been validated in Complix laboratory studies on RSV and HIV viruses.
Complix has recently started an anti-Covid-19 drug discovery campaign that builds on this vast experience in the design of anti-viral compounds. The programme is designed to create Alphabodies targeting the highly conserved Covid-19 fusion machinery, and hence are expected to exhibit less sensitivity to resistance development. Complix believes that its Covid-19 program holds the promise of yielding broadly cross-reactive anti-viral compounds with both prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing the current COVID-19 pandemic) as well as future emerging coronavirus variants or mutants.
Complix is also developing Cell Penetrating Alphabodies (CPABs) that can address disease targets present in the cytosol or in the nucleus of human cells. CPABs act with great precision and high affinity on targets that are considered “intractable” by current drug formats, such as antibodies or small chemicals. As a pioneer in intracellular targeting, Complix aims to develop a collection of first-in-class therapeutics with the potential to cure severe diseases with high unmet medical need.
Complix has established a strong intellectual property position protecting its Alphabody platform and its emerging product portfolio through the filing of multiple patent applications. The company is led by an experienced management team with a track record of success in the biotech industry and is backed by a syndicate of life sciences investors, through which it has raised over €30 million to date.
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