Ottawa, Canada, July 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd., a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on precision engineering small protein therapeutics, today announced that it is receiving advisory services and conditional funding from the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), to support the development of Orion’s lead compound, OB-002, a promising treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). OB-002 is the first of a new class of drugs, called Chemokine Analogs, being developed by Orion Biotechnology leveraging its proprietary Drug Discovery Platform.
ARDS is a feature of both SARS and MERS infections, and is an important cause of SARS-CoV-2 associated morbidity and mortality. CCL5 (RANTES) is an inflammatory chemokine which has been shown to play an important role in the development of ARDS. Orion’s OB-002 is a chemokine analog of CCL5 (RANTES) and a potential therapeutic intervention to target the pro-inflammatory chemokine CCL5/CCR5 pathway, which could prove beneficial in patients with ARDS. This intervention would be applicable in the current pandemic, but also play a potential crucial role in the future by treating new coronavirus infections that are associated with the development of ARDS.
“We are delighted to receive advisory services and funding from NRC IRAP, which will contribute to further innovative research towards ending the COVID-19 global pandemic,” stated Mark Groper, President and CEO of Orion Biotechnology. “This support will accelerate the potential development of OB-002 as a novel therapeutic agent for COVID-19 associated ARDS at a time when there are very limited pharmacological treatments for this life-threatening complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Dr. Ian McGowan MD PhD, Chief Medical Officer at Orion Biotechnology added, “The pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 associated ARDS includes the development of a cytokine/chemokine “storm” from infected airway epithelial cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages. Given the upregulation of CCL5 in this situation, treatment with OB-002 has the potential to suppress CCL5/CCR5 signalling which may lead to the suppression of such a cytokine/chemokine storm. We hypothesize that in SARS-CoV-2 infection models, treatment with OB-002 will not only prevent a cytokine/chemokine storm but will also prevent or significantly reduce the severity of ARDS.”