Biotech company Cyxone is developing T20K, a drug candidate with first-in-class potential for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Recently, Cyxone’s research partner, the Medical University of Vienna, presented pre-clinical data supporting T20K as a treatment for MS in combination with a kappa opioid receptor agonist, the combination having potential expanded therapeutic utility. BioStock reached out to COO Carl-Magnus Högerkorp for a comment.
First North-listed Cyxone’s drug candidates address autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as virally induced acute respiratory disorders such as Covid-19.
Cyxone’s T20K is a peptide with first-in-class potential for the treatment of MS, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS causes the immune system to attack and eventually damage myelin, the insulating sheath that forms around the nerves. This potentially leads to balance disorders, loss of vision, paralysis, and shorter life expectancy. The company’s ambition is to develop a well-tolerated and accessible alternative to current MS medication with the aim to stop progression or ideally even reverse the disease.
Promising data presented
In July, Cyxone announced a collaboration with the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna) to deepen the understanding of T20K’s mode of action and to evaluate its potential for a broader application in MS. Read more.
The research team at MedUni Vienna has studied T20K in combination with a kappa opioid receptor agonist (kOR) and recently filed a new patent application describing how T20K acts as a ligand to the kOR and in combination with kOR agonists exhibits greater therapeutic effects in a preclinical model of MS.
In addition to its role in immune-suppressive and anti-inflammatory processes, T20K is now explored for its kOR activity and its potential as a suitable treatment target in MS. The kOR, in contrast to the morphine opioid receptor mOR, is linked to promising protective effects of the myelin sheet. The research findings pave way for a combination therapy with T20K in both early and late stages of the disease.
Cyxone has exclusive rights
In March 2020, MedUni Vienna submitted an extended patent application to the European Patent Office regarding T20K in MS titled “Cyclotides in combination with kappa opioid receptor ligands for multiple sclerosis therapy.” This past September, the patent documentation was made public, and it covers the combination of T20K and kOR agonists as a potential MS therapy.
The patent is part of Cyxone’s licence agreement with MedUni Vienna, meaning that Cyxone has the exclusive rights to apply the findings in the development of T20K.
Comment from the COO
BioStock contacted COO Carl-Magnus Högerkorp for a comment on the latest news.
What implications do the findings of the potential combination therapy with T20K and kOR agonists and its associated patent have for Cyxone?
– These pre-clinical findings further support the filed patent application and previous observations regarding T20K and the kappa opioid receptor, where the synergistic effects point to greater efficacy of the combination. This provides further evidence for us to build on in the continuation of the pre-clinical research for the T20K program.
How will you position T20K going forward, given the latest pre-clinical data?
– Our current focus of development remains on T20K as a monotherapy and the T20K program continues according to plan. The new data generated with the T20K/kOR combination is very interesting, and we will continue to explore this in greater detail together with MedUni Vienna. Indeed, these promising findings could indicate a broader therapeutic effect.
What will be the next steps for your collaboration with MedUni Vienna?
– We intend to continue and intensify our collaboration with professors Schabbauer and Gruber in order to generate a better understanding of the potential of T20K and T20K in combination with kOR agonist in MS as well as possibly in other indications. We seek to understand more about the mode of action and the extent of therapeutic effect.The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.