Aerium Therapeutics Advances Next Generation Antibodies to Protect Immunocompromised Persons Against COVID-19
- Monoclonal antibodies from three leading research institutions show broad, potent and long-acting activity against latest COVID-19 variants and provide a multilayered defense against future viral evolution
- These antibodies could provide a much-needed tool to protect vulnerable populations from severe COVID-19
BOSTON & LAUSANNE, Switzerland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aerium Therapeutics, a company focused on the development of antiviral therapeutics for COVID-19 and emerging viral threats, announced that it has licensed and begun development of three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with broad and potent activity against the predominant variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), including those containing the F456L mutation, such as EG.5.1.
Vaccines against COVID-19 have prevented millions of illnesses and deaths, but their benefit is uncertain for the estimated 3 to 6 percent of the population who are immunocompromised and may not mount an adequate immune response to vaccination. Monoclonal antibodies can protect immunocompromised persons from severe COVID-19, however viral evolution has rendered previous mAbs ineffective, and no prophylactic or therapeutic mAbs are currently available in the U.S.
“Vaccines have been highly successful from a public health standpoint, however a huge portion of the population remains vulnerable to severe infection,” said Rajeev Venkayya, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aerium Therapeutics. “We believe that these new mAb candidates could change this picture.”
Aerium licensed the monoclonal antibodies from three leading research institutions:
- AER003 was discovered by Craig Fenwick and Giuseppe Pantaleo at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV)1 and characterized with the assistance of Didier Trono at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The mAb binds to the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 at most of the same points as the ACE2 receptor, providing a high barrier to virus escape. [Link to research paper here.]
- AER004 was discovered by Michel Nussenzweig at Rockefeller University and also blocks the RBD in a complementary manner to AER003. [Link to research paper here.]
- AER005 was discovered by Julie Overbaugh at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and targets a novel highly conserved region of the virus outside of the RBD. [Link to research paper here.]
Aerium is pursuing a mAb combination strategy to defend against future viral evolution. Aerium’s lead program is AER800, a combination product comprised of AER003 and AER004 that covers nearly all of the ACE2 binding site of the RBD. Aerium is also initiating development of AER005 for potential inclusion in a future product. The mAbs have been modified to provide long-acting protection and exhibit potent and consistent activity against all previous and predominantly circulating variants.
“New broadly protective and potent mAbs are urgently needed to protect those who have been left behind in the vaccine revolution,” said Myron “Mike” Cohen, M.D., director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the UNC School of Medicine, and a member of Aerium’s Scientific Advisory Board. “The data Aerium has generated to date is inspiring and provides a ray of hope for millions of immunocompromised persons around the world.”
Aerium is continually testing its mAbs against emerging variants, and identifying new mAb candidates to address future variants, with a goal of providing lasting protection of immunocompromised persons.
1Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland
About Aerium Therapeutics
Aerium Therapeutics is dedicated to epidemic and pandemic preparedness through the discovery and development of novel therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 and other epidemic and pandemic threats. The Aerium team, based in Boston and Lausanne, Switzerland, brings world-class scientists and biotechnology leaders together with prominent life sciences investors. The company is advancing monoclonal antibodies for COVID, with a focus on protecting immunocompromised individuals. Aerium Therapeutics was founded and funded by Omega Funds and F-Prime Capital in 2021. For more information visit www.aeriumtx.com and follow us on X at @aeriumtx or on LinkedIn.