The Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Accelerates Company’s Efforts to Enter Clinical Trials by Early 2021
NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kleo Pharmaceuticals, a leading company in the field of developing next-generation, fully synthetic bispecific compounds designed to emulate or enhance the activity of biologics, announced today that it has received a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the development of Kleo’s COVID-19 treatment leveraging its MATE™ (Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Enhancers) technology platform to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Kleo’s MATE technology uses site-directed, chemical conjugation with off-the-shelf therapeutic antibodies to add to or enhance their functionality. Kleo has developed a series of binders that target the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to conjugate with commercially available intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) plasma product to create a hyperimmune globulin mimic (HGM) therapeutic. HGM therefore could represent a synthetic, readily available, targeted and homogenous replacement of convalescent serum that has shown promise as treatment for COVID-19 disease. HGM can address COVID-19 viral infection by multiple mechanisms: direct neutralization, viral clearance through innate immune system and longer-term vaccination-like effects. Unlike traditional monoclonal therapeutic antibodies which are based on a single immunoglobulin (IgG) subclass, Kleo’s HGM product for COVID-19 consists of IgG1/2/4 antibodies, therefore conferring a unique multimodal effect.
Kleo has previously demonstrated proof-of-concept for the MATE conjugation technology with commercial-grade IVIG in a preclinical in vivo oncology model.
“We are thrilled to receive grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate development of our COVID-19 HGM program and potentially help address this urgent global need,” said Doug Manion, MD, CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals. “From Kleo’s initial work in HIV and my 20 plus years of experience in developing successful anti-viral medicines, the COVID-19 program represents an important component and natural evolution of the Kleo story. This non-dilutive funding allows us to rapidly advance clinical candidate identification efforts with the goal of entering the clinic in early 2021.”
In addition to the COVID-19 HGM program, Kleo has also recently established collaborations with South Korea-based Green Cross LabCell (GCLC), a subsidiary of Green Cross Corporation, and U.S.-based Celularity, Inc. to explore and develop COVID-19 therapies using its antibody recruiting molecule (ARM™) technology in combination with allogeneic NK cells.
About Kleo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Kleo Pharmaceuticals is a unique biotechnology company developing next-generation, bispecific compounds designed to emulate or enhance the activity of biologics based on the groundbreaking research of its scientific founder Dr. David Spiegel at Yale University. Kleo’s compounds are designed to direct the immune system to destroy cancerous or virally infected cells and are currently in development for the treatment of various diseases, including multiple myeloma and COVID-19. Compared to biologics, Kleo’s compounds are smaller and more versatile, leading to potentially improved safety and efficacy. They are also much faster and more efficient to design and produce, particularly against novel targets. Kleo develops drug candidates based on its proprietary technology platforms, all of which are modular in design and enable rapid generation of novel immunotherapies that can be optimized against specified biological targets and combined with existing cell- or antibody-based therapies. These include Antibody Recruiting Molecules (ARMs) and Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Enhancers (MATEs). Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company (NYSE:BHVN) and PeptiDream Inc. (Nikkei: PPTDF) are investors in Kleo Pharmaceuticals. For more information visit http://kleopharmaceuticals.com.
Susan Kinkead (Media)