Policy & Regulation
Aptorum Group Teams with Covar Pharmaceuticals to Investigate at Least 3 Repurposed Drug Candidates
2 April 2020 - - US-based biopharmaceutical company Aptorum Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: APM) is initiating an additional research and development project targeting the coronavirus group and has completed initial screening under the Smart-ACT platform, a repurposed and new drug discovery platform, to select, out of more than 2,600 approved small drug molecules, at least 3 potential candidates for further preclinical investigation against the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the company said.

Aptorum Group is collaborating with Toronto based Covar Pharmaceuticals and has also entered into agreement with the University of Hong Kong's Microbiology Department to conduct further preclinical investigation of the selected candidates prior to seeking approval from regulatory agencies to initiate clinical trials on suitable candidates.

In particular, Aptorum Group will focus on investigation of at least three small molecule drugs (collectively "SACT-COV19"), that have shown potential interference against two enzyme targets, namely, 3CL-Protease and RNA dependent RNA Polymerase, with both playing pivotal roles in COVID-19's replication cycle.

Specifically, 3CL-Protease is believed to mediate viral replication and transcription functions through extensive proteolytic processing, while RDRP is an enzyme that is believed to catalyze the replication of viral RNA from its RNA template.

These selected candidates will undergo further preclinical assessment on efficacy against COVID-19. Aptorum Group has filed patent applications on the above candidates.

For the ongoing investigation and preclinical work, Aptorum Group is collaborating with Toronto based Covar Pharmaceuticals and also Aptorum Group has contracted with the University of Hong Kong to conduct this work. Covar Pharmaceutical's team (comprised of professionals previously from Patheon and Glaxo Wellcome) is highly experienced in drug discovery and development supported by its GMP manufacturing facility.

The University of Hong Kong's Microbiology team was instrumental in the discovery of SARS virus during the 2003 epidemic, as well as currently being actively involved, in their own respective research interests, in developing vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus3 and COVID-19 related monitoring physical device with other third parties.

Aptorum Group will also seek additional collaborators globally for driving its development of SACT-COV19 initiatives forward and welcomes interested parties to contact us to discuss collaboration opportunities.

Aptorum Group, as part of its existing pipeline, is also developing a number of infectious disease indications under its Acticule platform, including, but not limited to, a unique antiviral small molecule candidate (ALS-1) against Influenza virus and also, as its lead program, an anti-virulent, non-bactericidal small molecule candidate (ALS-4) against Staphylococcus aureus infections, amongst other projects, for which Covar Pharmaceuticals is also currently supporting its development in North America.

The Smart-ACT platform is a proprietary systematic process combining both computational approach and wet laboratory validation under which Aptorum Group constantly screens over 2,600 approved small molecule drugs in order to identify candidates that can be repurposed for selected orphan or unmet diseases.

The overall strategic aim is to significantly shorten R and D costs and the timeline to effectively deliver patentable repurposed drug candidates into clinical trials and efficiently achieve eventual market commercialisation.

Aptorum Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: APM) is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing novel therapeutics to tackle unmet medical needs.

The group's current drug pipeline include indications in orphan diseases, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases and a number of which are targeted to enter clinical trial phases in 2020.

Aptorum Group's Dioscorea Opposita Bioactive Nutraceutical Tablets, which is a dietary supplement for women's health during menopause and post-menopause cycles, are currently being commercialised.
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