Anixa Biosciences, MolGenie announce SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

January 25, 2022 -- Anixa Biosciences and its partner MolGenie have synthesized a compound that appears to be considerably more potent than nirmatrelvir at inhibiting the main protease (Mpro) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Nirmatrelvir is the main component of Pfizer's Paxlovid, which was recently authorized to treat COVID-19. Paxlovid also includes ritonavir, which is an HIV drug. Since the crystal structure of Mpro of SARS-CoV-2 was published, Anixa has worked with MolGenie to identify compounds that could inhibit this enzyme. Notably, the program is not reliant on targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the firms said.

Recently identified variants, like delta and omicron, are characterized by mutations in the spike protein, but Mpro is largely conserved across all variants. Therefore, Anixa said it expects its compounds will be effective against all the currently known variants.

MolGenie is using and developing compound design technologies aiming at druglike and selective small molecules that exhibit a clear structure-activity relationship and have the promise of good tolerability and oral bioavailability. Anixa is a publicly traded biotechnology company developing a number of programs addressing cancer and infectious diseases.

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