MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Feb. 22, 2022 — Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Nasdaq: PHIO), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing the next generation of therapeutics based on its proprietary self-delivering RNAi (INTASYL™) therapeutic platform, today announced the start of efficacy animal studies with INTASYL-based antiviral compounds against SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19. The studies will further investigate the efficacy of Phio’s INTASYL technology for treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in a validated mouse (“in vivo”) model of airway epithelial cell infection, after earlier positive findings in laboratory tests (“in vitro studies”) conducted by two independent research facilities. Considering the ongoing pandemic is fueled by new viral variants, the INTASYL-based antiviral compounds are designed to be effective against existing and future variants.
Novel drugs designed using the INTASYL technology provide an efficient hit to lead process by bioinformatics-based drug design using a proprietary algorithm. This process requires the design of ~20 compounds for a single target which can then be screened to provide a lead compound for optimization. The INTASYL antiviral compounds being studied to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection are designed against three targets, including two virus-related targets and one novel host-related target. These compounds were tested and activity confirmed in laboratory tests with two different in vitro models of SARS-CoV-2 infection at two independent laboratories. Based on these in vitro data, three compounds, one per target, have been selected for further in vivo testing.
“The rapid identification of lead compounds for testing in this validated in vivo model of SARS-CoV-2 infection highlights the efficiency and flexibility of the INTASYL platform,” said Dr. Simon Fricker, VP of Research and Development. “While our main development focus is on our immuno-oncology programs, considering the ongoing pandemic and the ease by which we can develop new INTASYL-based drugs, we felt an obligation to explore our ability to contribute to the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic. We believe the data we’ve collected to date on our compound that targets the human host cells is exciting considering its potential to treat infections regardless of the viral variant.”
“Gene silencing represents a promising antiviral development strategy,” added James Cardia, Phio’s VP of Business Operations, “However, the progress in this field has been slow due to the difficulties of getting traditional siRNA into their target cells and intracellular site of action. Therefore, the spontaneous delivery of INTASYL compounds to a wide variety of cells provides another strong argument in favor of developing antiviral therapy based on the platform. Considering the data from completed and ongoing studies, we believe there may be an avenue to unlock the value of INTASYL outside of our focus areas through additional strategic development collaborations.”
About Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Nasdaq: PHIO) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing the next generation of immuno-oncology therapeutics based on its self-delivering RNAi (INTASYL™) therapeutic platform. The Company’s efforts are focused on silencing tumor-induced suppression of the immune system through its proprietary INTASYL platform with utility in immune cells and the tumor micro-environment. Our goal is to develop powerful INTASYL therapeutic compounds that can weaponize immune effector cells to overcome tumor immune escape, thereby providing patients a powerful new treatment option that goes beyond current treatment modalities. For additional information, visit the Company’s website, www.phiopharma.com.
Forward Looking Statements
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Contact Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Ashley R. Robinson
SOURCE Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp.