- The stock price of Moleculin Biotech Inc (NASDAQ: MBRX) increased by over 2% during intraday trading today. This is why it happened.
The stock price of Moleculin Biotech Inc (NASDAQ: MBRX) – a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company with a broad portfolio of drug candidates targeting highly resistant tumors and viruses – increased by over 2% during intraday trading today. Investors are responding positively to Moleculin Biotech announcing it has received authorization from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to commence a Phase 1a clinical trial of WP1122 in the United Kingdom. WP1122 – the company’s lead metabolism/glycosylation inhibitor – is a prodrug of a well-known antimetabolite called 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) currently being developed for inhibition of viral replication and disease manifestations in humans infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
Moleculin Biotech had also announced it has received a favorable opinion from the London – Riverside Research Ethics Committee in the UK to begin the study, which is expected to be conducted at the Medicines Evaluation Unit in Manchester, United Kingdom.
The Phase 1a study in healthy human volunteers will investigate the effects of a single ascending dose (SAD) and multiple days of ascending dosing (MAD) of WP1122 administered as an oral solution. And dose escalation will take place in sequential SAD cohorts, and MAD will start as soon as SAD has completed at least 3 dosing cohorts in which WP1122 is found to be safe and well-tolerated.
This study in healthy volunteers will explore safety and pharmacokinetics (PK), and subsequent clinical development will be in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 to further evaluate the safety and establish a favorable risk/benefit profile. And the company expects to enroll approximately 80 healthy volunteers in the United Kingdom.
The primary endpoint (SAD and MAD) for the study is safety and tolerability — which will be assessed by the frequency of adverse events (AEs), serious adverse events, treatment-emergent adverse events, and AEs of special interest. And these will be presented by severity and seriousness, system organ class, preferred term, and cohort.
The clinically significant changes from baseline in clinical laboratory values, physical examination, vital signs, and electrocardiograms will be documented. And the secondary endpoint (SAD and MAD) of the study will be the assessment of PK parameters of WP1122 and its 3 active metabolites. And the total duration of study participation for each subject will be up to 4 weeks during SAD and up to 5 weeks during MAD.
WP1122 was developed as a 2-DG prodrug for providing a more favorable pharmacological profile and was found to have greater potency than 2-DG alone in preclinical models where tumor cells require higher glycolytic activity than normal cells. And WP1122 has also been shown to have a more potent antiviral effect than 2-DG against SARS-CoV-2 in MRC-5 cells in culture. This improved pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) profile of WP1122 compared to 2-DG was noted in female mice following oral dosing at equimolar (i.e., equivalent levels of 2-DG) doses.
Moleculin Biotech is also in the process of identifying more countries where potential future Phase 2 COVID-19 clinical studies could occur. And the company is also engaged in the preclinical development of additional antimetabolites (WP1096 and WP1097) targeting glycosylation and glycolysis, as well as developing an Investigational New Drug (IND) submission to study WP1122 in cancer patients.
“We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing efforts and discussions the MHRA has engaged in with us to advance this important program. Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, are highly dependent upon glycosylation to form structurally and functionally different essential glycoproteins, as well as glycolysis for energy production. The potent antiviral effect demonstrated by WP1122 in preclinical models to-date is encouraging and bolsters our belief in its potential as an effective therapy for COVID-19.”
— Walter Klemp, Chairman and CEO of Moleculin
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