Santhera Pharmaceuticals and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have entered a collaboration to investigate the potential of lonodelestat (POL6014), a potent inhibitor of human neutrophil elastase (hNE), as a therapeutic intervention for COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Researchers at CSHL are part of a consortium called the ‘NETwork to target neutrophils in COVID-19’. This NETwork will study the role of neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in the pathology of COVID-19 as well as hNE and other targets for intervention for the purpose of treating COVID-19.
NETs are macromolecular structures of DNA and proteins that neutrophils can expel, for example during severe inflammation. hNE is released by neutrophils when they form NETs. There are clear similarities between the clinical presentation of severe COVID-19 and diseases known to involve NETs, such as ARDS. On this basis, the NETwork has developed the rationale that excess NETs may play a major role in COVID-19 and that inhibition of hNE may be a therapeutic strategy to antagonize NETs in COVID-19 patients.
Santhera will provide lonodelestat and intellectual support for the scientists at CSHL who will conduct the non-clinical research program. The work is expected to further validate hNE as a target and shed light on this clinical stage compound as a potential agent also in COVID-19.
Melior Pharmaceuticals has been awarded a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments and Therapies (CV-VTT) Program, which is designed to support rapid advancement of promising COVID-19 therapies.