Immunic and the University Medical Center Goettingen Sign License Agreement Covering the Combination of DHODH Inhibitors and Nucleoside Analogues to Treat Viral Infections, Including COVID-19- Preclinical Combination Data Suggests Extra-Ordinary Synergy Between Certain DHODH Inhibitors and Nucleoside Analogues -- Combination of IMU-838 and N4-Hydroxycytidine Reduced SARS-CoV-2 Virus Levels, Including the Delta Variant, Down to the Detection Limit -NEW YORK and GOETTINGEN, Germany, September 22, 2021 - Immunic, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMUX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of selective oral immunology therapies focused on treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, today announced the execution of an in-license agreement with the University Medical Center Goettingen, Germany, covering the combination of DHODH inhibitors and nucleoside analogues to treat viral infections (COVID-19 and Influenza). Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Preclinical research recently completed by the parties and their collaborators has shown that certain DHODH inhibitors, including Immunic's lead asset, IMU-838, strongly synergize with selected nucleoside analogues to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro. For instance, in an in vitro test system, IMU-838 alone showed an up to 99.9% reduction in viral RNA at concentrations of 5 μM, which is well within the exposure levels seen in prior clinical trials. Likewise, N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC), the active metabolite of molnupiravir, alone, was associated with an up to 99% reduction in viral RNA at concentrations of 100 nM. Compared to single agent activity, the combination of IMU-838 and NHC achieved an extra-ordinary reduction in viral RNA, down to the limit of detection, reducing SARS-CoV-2 RNA by up to seven log units (corresponding to 0.00001% viral RNA remaining). This powerful reduction of virus replication in vitro was demonstrated across multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, including alpha, beta and delta, highlighting the independence of this approach to mutant virus forms. In addition to molnupiravir, Immunic is exploring alternate nucleoside analogues, some of which have shown very promising antiviral activity in vitro. The company plans to present detailed data at an upcoming scientific conference.
"Research by the University Medical Center Goettingen and other research partners revealed a profound degree of synergy in vitro when combining certain nucleoside analogues with DHODH inhibitors, including both our lead asset IMU-838 and other of our preclinical molecules," stated Daniel Vitt, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Immunic. "Recalling IMU-838's clinical activity against COVID-19 in our phase 2 CALVID-1 trial published earlier this year, and in light of recent exacerbations in COVID-19, worldwide, we are very excited to have in-licensed this technology to incorporate into our pandemic preparedness effort. However, with the extra-ordinary wealth of activity already ongoing at the company in other programs, we intend to evaluate and pursue the best possible strategic option for this program, including potential partnership, collaboration or external funding."