Our virology portfolio is based on the broad virus-blocking effect of iota-carrageenan, a sulfated polymer originally isolated from red seaweed. You can learn more about our OTC product line in viral respiratory infections here.
Community-acquired pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization for adults and children in the U.S. with an overall annual incidence of 15.7/10,000 children resp. 24,8/10,000 adults. This results in healthcare expenses of more than 10 BN USD alone in the U.S. (before COVID-19). In addition, co-infections by several virus families are common especially in children.
The clinical development of our first iota-carrageenan-based antiviral drug candidate is already underway. Due to the recent SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and the demonstrated potential of iota-carrageenan against this virus and its variants of concern, an inhalable formulation against viral pneumonia is currently tested in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in several clinics in Austria. Throughout the last years, the scientific evidence on the antiviral properties of iota-carrageenan has been substantialized by Marinomed and other scientific groups.
Due to its unique mechanism of action, iota-carrageenan has the potential to neutralize a wide range of virus families, a property that is nowadays requested for antiviral treatments in respiratory infections for being better prepared for future pandemics by groups like the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the German Leopoldina or the recently formed Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) initiative supported by e.g., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Building upon our powerful Marinosolv platform and our deep know-how in immunology we will now focus on autoreactive immune disorders that are characterized by an exaggerated adaptive or innate immune system. Thus, immune cells attack self-structures thereby causing damage to the organ or tissue. Most common autoimmune disorders are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or colitis ulcerosa.
Allergic rhinitis (AR), either perennial or seasonal, is one manifestation of a type I hypersensitivity reaction caused by an immune reaction to otherwise innocuous agents such as pollen or house dust mites. In the past decades, a globally rising trend of AR has been observed with widely varying prevalence particularly in the developing countries. Up to one-quarter of the global population may be affected. While allergic rhinitis refers to an inflammatory process of the nasal passages, symptoms involve the nose and may extend beyond to affect the eyes, ears, sinuses and bronchi. Commonly reported nasal symptoms include nasal itching and congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Often, AR will involve the conjunctivae; such patients may experience itching, tearing and red eyes. About 40% of AR patients also suffer from asthmatic symptoms like cough, wheeze and dyspnoea. In fact, AR is considered an independent risk factor for subsequent asthma.
Apart from allergen avoidance and physical measures, current therapy of AR comprises two main treatment options: allergen immunotherapy or pharmaceuticals targeting the consequences of mast cell mediator release. While immunotherapy is the only treatment with a long-term sustained effect that is intended to result in a reduced reactivity to the respective allergen, pharmaceutical interventions either block histamine from binding to its receptor (anti-histamines), stabilize mast cells (eg cromoglycate), or reduce the release of pro-inflammatory mediators such as TNF-alpha. The latter is achieved with the topical application of corticosteroids such as budesonide, fluticasone propionate or others.
Anterior eye diseases
Tacrosolv, our proprietary formulation of Tacrolimus, has completed a phase 2 study with encouraging results in allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, an indication that we used as a model for other inflammatory eye diseases.
Tacrolimus is a macrolide immunosuppressant that is about 100 times more potent than Cyclosporines. However, as it is practically insoluble in water, key ophthalmic indications could not be adequately addressed until now. Together with an international scientific advisory board, we are evaluating a number of ophthalmic indications with inadequate treatment options where Tacrosolv could create value for our patients.
Autoimmune gastritis (AIG) is a non-self-limiting, autoimmmune disease of the stomach lining with subsequent loss of parietal cells causing an increase of pH resulting in strongly reduced iron uptake and symptoms like dyspepsia, bloating, diarrhoea and pain. Late stage disease is connected to Vitamine B12 deficiency leading to pernicious anaemia and neurological symptoms. In addition, patients have an increased risk to develop gastric adenocarcinoma.
The prevalence of AIG in the general population ranges from 0.1% to 1-2%. Usually, it affects more women than men (2:1) or people above the age of 60 years (about 2-3%). AIG is often associated with other autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto syndrome) or type-1 diabetes mellitus.
Currently, there is no effective treatment available. Standard treatment for AIG patients is an Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy, the repletion of Vitamine B12 reserves and iron transfusions. To monitor potential long term complications, endoscopic surveillance is recommended every year.