CNS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) in collaboration with its development partner WPD Pharmaceuticals Inc. intends to develop several preclinical drug candidates including WP1122, which will be tested on a range of viruses including the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. On Thursday, WPD Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced that independent research on its WP1122 drug compound found 2-deoxy-D-glucose (“2-DG”) to reduce replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by 100% in in vitro testing.
WPD has licensed rights to a portfolio of drug candidates, including WP1122, through its license partner, Moleculin Biotech, Inc. (“Moleculin”)(Nasdaq: MBRX). Recently, researchers at the University of Frankfurt disclosed the findings in their article submitted to NatureResearch on March 11, 2020 (Bojkova, D et al; DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-17218/v1) (https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-17218/v1). The authors reported that inhibiting glycolysis with non-toxic concentrations of 2-DG completely prevented SARS-CoV–2 replication in Caco–2 cells. Glycolysis is a process by which cells convert glucose into energy and infected (host) cells are induced by viruses to dramatically increase their dependence on glycolysis. 2-DG inhibits glycolysis because, although it appears to cells to be glucose, it is in fact a decoy that cannot be converted into energy.
“We are excited with this breakthrough on our WP1122 drug candidate and the early implications are that it could have positive effects on reducing the spread of COVID-19,” commented Mariusz Olejniczak, CEO of WPD. “I would like to commend our license partner, Moleculin and the researchers at the University of Frankfurt for their expedited work and the willingness of the authors to pre-release this data will help support our development of WP1122 for treating COVID-19.”
Walter Klemp, Chairman and CEO of Moleculin added: “This discovery essentially put our development efforts in to turbo-drive. We are moving as quickly as we can to prepare WP1122 for clinical trials. With the US and EU having established accelerated approval procedures for COVID-19 related projects, we expect this to move very quickly. We look forward to WPD’s help, especially as it relates to expediting things in Europe.”