NOVATO, Calif., May 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Mercaptor Discoveries (Mercaptor), a platform company with preclinical programs in epilepsy and TBI, today announced that it is pivoting its proprietary neurotherapeutic development plan toward COVID-19.
While emphasis has been on systemic viral mechanisms of respiratory failure, COVID-19 is also a neurotropic virus, triggering neuroinflammation in the brainstem that is also a threat to respiratory function. In general, it is becoming increasingly clear that damage caused by neuroinflammation can lead to organ failure in severe cases. Responding to the danger of brain damage caused by COVID-19, Mercaptor is directing its proprietary neurotherapeutic platform toward the development of drugs that prevent or relieve the worst effects of the virus.
Drugs developed to treat brain trauma and neurodegeneration often fail in the clinic due to poor brain penetration, which results in: low efficacy and high toxicity both in a healthy brain and the periphery. Our platform, “captonization”, reshapes previously documented molecules developed to modulate neuroinflammation. The specific structural modification renders the molecule inactive while giving it characteristics that allow it to penetrate the blood brain barrier more easily and be distributed in the brain evenly. The captonized molecule, called a Capton, reverts to its original active form upon encountering the microenvironment of tissue damage caused by most CNS disorders.
Mercaptor’s lead Capton inhibits COX2, an upstream component of the inflammatory response, thereby restricting the cytokine storm that leads to neuroinflammation, protecting the patient from pulmonary and cardiac collapse.
“With Capton technology, injury-activated localized-treatment is now possible, allowing for precision medicine in the brain,” said Sara Isbell, CEO, President and Co-Founder, Mercaptor Discoveries. “Without this unprecedented ability, having therapeutics for the brain would remain an unattainable goal.”
“With synergy in our programs, we are pivoting our efforts from developing our candidate for epilepsy to treating and protecting patients with COVID-19,” said Todd Zankel, CSO and Co-Founder, Mercaptor Discoveries. “We will be engaging the FDA in the coming weeks in order to speed our candidates into clinical trials.”