ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM) has noted the results of a recent study conducted at Emory University Atlanta in the US, which it postulates may provide evidence that its Lupuzor lupus treatment could help to reduce or prevent the occurrence of the cytokine storm seen in coronavirus patients.
The drug development firm said the findings of the study suggested that coronavirus patients and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) sufferers experiencing flares might share similar inflammatory symptoms, underpinned by similar mechanisms.
As Lupuzor is a modulator of immune response and an anti-inflammatory agent that has activity against SLE, ImmuPharma said further exploratory work is ongoing to assess the treatment’s “possible potential and clinical program in [coronavirus] patients”.
The company has already been considering how Lupuzor interacts with the immune system and any potential applications to coronavirus as part of an overall evaluation of how it may apply its technologies to fight the pandemic.
In late March, the company expanded its pipeline to include three new ‘anti-infective’ programs, one of which was an antiviral program.
ImmuPharma said the antiviral program suggested the potential to create “effective anti-fusion peptides with the goal to prevent virus entry into the host cells, which may lead to novel peptide based antiviral therapies”.
"As the [coronavirus] pandemic has unfolded, ImmuPharma has been evaluating how it can best contribute its expertise and resources to help in the global response”, ImmuPharma chief executive Dimitri Dimitriou and president Robert Zimmer said in a statement.
“Using our longstanding knowledge of peptide based technology, provides us with a number of opportunities, to help bring together a therapy that could be effective against the inflammation that causes the serious complications of [coronavirus]. We look forward to providing further updates when appropriate", they added.
The shares surged 20.6% to 17.3p in mid-morning trading on Thursday
--Adds share price--