Meletios Therapeutics signs an exclusive license agreement with the Institut Pasteur for the development of a new class of antivirals
- Meletios has signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement for an innovative technology platform for the generation of Defective Viral Genomes (DVG). DVGs are truncated or rearranged copies of a virus, making these viral sequences non-pathogenic.
- There are DVGs with very specific viral sequences, which have a strong therapeutic potential due to their ability to parasitize and inhibit the replication of the parental virus.
- Meletios gains access to a technology platform of generation and to DVGs sequences of Zika and Chikungunya viruses. Those two diseases are of high medical need affecting millions of people worldwide and with no antiviral treatment available to date.
- Meletios will also have a preemptive right to exploit this technology on other RNA viruses for which DVGs may have strong therapeutic potential.
Paris, France, February 28th 2022 – Meletios Therapeutics, a French biotechnology company specializing in the research and development of next-generation antiviral therapies, announced today that it has signed an exclusive license agreement with the Institut Pasteur for the development of a new class of antiviral treatments.
This licensing agreement will provide Meletios Therapeutics with access to a state-of-the-art technology platform for generating Defective Viral Genomes (DVGs), copies of a parental virus with substitutions or deletions in its genomic sequence that alter its functioning and its pathogenic properties.
This next-generation technological platform has been developed by Marco Vignuzzi, PhD, head of the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur. It will make it possible to identify DVGs with very specific genomic alterations inhibiting their pathogenic effect in favor of a strong capacity to compete with the parental virus for replication within host cells.
Meletios Therapeutics intends to study the potential of these non-infectious viral sequences for the partial or total inhibition of the replication of several pathogenic viruses and ultimately for the development of next generation antiviral treatments.
The license agreement with the Institut Pasteur will enable Meletios Therapeutics to generate and develop in collaboration with Marco Vignuzzi, PhD, DVGs derived from Zika virus, an infectious agent that appears by epidemic waves (1.5 million cases during the last epidemic in Brazil in 2015) and can cause very significant neurological damage to fetuses of infected pregnant women; and Chikungunya, a pathology that has infected millions of people since 2005 and can be very painful and cause disabling long-term rheumatological and joint sequels. No effective antiviral treatment exists to date for these two indications.
Meletios will also have a pre-emptive right to study and develop, via this technology platform, DVGs from other RNA viruses that may be of therapeutic interest.
« This licensing agreement reinforces our second research program. It is perfectly in line with our commitment to develop new classes of antiviral treatments targeting a specific virus as well as entire families and to strengthen the therapeutic response in the event of an epidemic, » said Catherine Martre, CEO of Meletios Therapeutics. « We are delighted with this agreement with the Institut Pasteur, a leading organization in the fight against viral infections, which gives us access to valuable expertise for the selection of DVGs of interest for future antiviral treatments. With this agreement and a stronger cash position following the 2021 financing, Meletios Therapeutics now intends to accelerate the development of its research programs to offer its innovative antiviral solutions as soon as possible for the treatment of diseases for which no real therapeutic solution exists today. »
« The existence of DVGs was already identified several decades ago in research laboratories; current advances and knowledge now allow us to consider a therapeutic application of this discovery. The application of this method to entire families of viruses constitutes a major advance in the fight against worrying epidemics, for which efficacy of the options available to patients is extremely limited. It is now crucial to develop effective, well-tolerated and easy-to-produce antiviral treatments for the management of these infections, » concluded Marco Vignuzzi, PhD, head of the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur.
« I am delighted to sign this agreement with Meletios Therapeutics, whose project could help develop and provide patients with new therapeutic solutions for these diseases with a high medical need, » added Isabelle Buckle, head of Research Applications and Industrial Partnerships at the Institut Pasteur.
About Meletios Therapeutics
Founded in April 2020 in Paris by a team of top scientists and biotech experts, Meletios Therapeutics aims to address the urgent medical need for antiviral solutions to current and emerging diseases.
Its first drug candidate, MLT103, has confirmed its potential in in vitro and in vivo models by acting on both the SARS-CoV-2 virus and infected host cells. The Company now intends to continue to progress according to regulatory requirements in order to launch the first clinical phases as soon as possible.
Meletios Therapeutics now has a second research program using a new technology to directly interfere with the replication mechanism of RNA viruses. The potential of two candidates for the treatment of Zika and Chikungunya virus infections will soon be evaluated by the Company.
Several other drug candidates in Meletios Therapeutics’ portfolio are being developed to expand the Company’s portfolio of antiviral molecules. Some of these molecules have already been clinically tested for other human diseases and therefore have two major advantages: a well-known safety profile and the possibility of accelerated development.
With its unique approach and recognized expertise, Meletios Therapeutics intends to become a world leader in the fight against emerging viral infections by developing innovative, broad-spectrum therapeutic solutions capable of being active on infections related to all types of viral strains.
Nicolas Merigeau – NewCap
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