CytoAgents, a Pittsburgh-based biotech focussed on viral infectious diseases, has secured a £1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the development of its lead drug candidate, GP1681, an investigational new drug to treat severe influenza, and potentially COVID-19, by targeting hypercytokinemia, more commonly known as ‘cytokine storm’.
Scientific consensus is building that severe illness caused by influenza, COVID-19 and other infectious diseases is triggered by cytokine storm, an excessive immune response that attacks the body.
GP1681 is a small molecule inhibitor of cytokine release in activated human immune cells that addresses an unmet need for therapeutic treatment.
It has been shown to safely modulate the natural immune response by tamping down various cytokines and addresses the underlying cause of life-threatening symptoms associated with cytokine storm, which can cause more harm than the influenza or the virus itself.
Teresa Whalen, CEO of CytoAgents, said: “The NIH grant is an incredible validation of our science, as we build a platform for respiratory illness, ultimately creating a powerful, lasting solution for cytokine storm.”