HAMILTON, BERMUDA , July 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Heqet will test nanoparticles based on Altamira’s OligoPhore delivery platform in the regeneration of damaged heart tissue
Altamira Therapeutics Ltd. (“Altamira” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq:CYTO), a company dedicated to developing and commercializing RNA delivery technology for targets beyond the liver, today announced that it has entered into a collaboration and option agreement with Heqet Therapeutics s.r.l. (“Heqet”) utilizing the Company’s proprietary OligoPhoreTM delivery platform. Based in Turin, Italy, Heqet is a biotech spin-out from King’s College London. It is developing groundbreaking genetic medicines to reverse the damage of ischemic heart disease.
Under the terms of the agreement, Heqet will test nanoparticles based on Altamira’s OligoPhore delivery platform and comprising certain non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the regeneration of damaged heart tissue following myocardial infarction in animal models. Upon successful conclusion of the experiments, Heqet will, under certain conditions, have the option to negotiate with Altamira for a license to use the Company’s technology and intellectual property to translate its findings into the development of therapeutics for cardiac regeneration.
Myocardial infarction (commonly called “heart attack”) may cause irreversible death (necrosis) of heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) due to prolonged lack of oxygen supply (ischemia). According to the American Heart Association, in the US alone there are 605,000 new cases of myocardial infarction and 200,000 recurrent attacks every year.1 The adult human heart has very limited ability to replace damaged cardiomyocytes, and heart failure is a common sequela of myocardial infarction. Heart failure mortality has been estimated at 50 percent of patients at only five years from diagnosis.2
Heqet was founded by Professor Mauro Giacca, MD, Ph.D., who serves as Head, School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences, King’s College London. His previous work showed the feasibility of regeneration of damaged heart tissue by stimulating the proliferation of cardiomyocytes in animal models of myocardial infarction through upregulation of certain ncRNAs.3 However, delivery of the ncRNAs with viral vector technology turned out to be challenging, not the least since proliferation must be only temporary.
“We are thrilled to combine Altamira’s peptide-based delivery technology with our non-coding RNAs, to further optimize our unique therapeutic approach and improve the available treatment options for myocardial infarction,” said Anja Høg, Chief Development Officer at Heqet Therapeutics.
“The promise of regenerating cardiac muscle continues to intrigue scientists and clinicians worldwide given the significant complications and high mortality associated with myocardial infarction,” said Samuel A. Wickline, MD, Altamira’s Chief Scientific Adviser. “Application of molecular factors that can stimulate resident myocardial cells to start dividing again appears to be a very promising novel approach, yet it requires timely and targeted delivery to cardiomyocytes. We believe that our peptide-based OligoPhore platform for RNA delivery has the potential to serve as a safe and effective vehicle for engineering controlled local cardiac regeneration.”
OligoPhore is a versatile platform designed to enable safe and effective delivery of oligonucleotides such as siRNA, miRNA or antisense RNA into target cells, using systemic or local administration. It is based on a proprietary 21 amino acid peptide that can engage any type of RNA in rapid self-assembly into a polyplex. The polyplex has a size, charge, and other physical features that allow it to escape hepatic clearance and thus to reach target tissues other than the liver. OligoPhore protects the RNA payload from degradation in the circulation and allows for rapid cellular uptake, while enabling pH-dependent nucleotide full endosomal escape and cytoplasmic delivery. Effective delivery and positive treatment outcomes have been demonstrated in more than 10 diverse murine models of disease so far.
About Altamira Therapeutics
Altamira Therapeutics (Nasdaq:CYTO) is dedicated to developing and commercializing RNA delivery technology for extrahepatic targets (OligoPhore™ / SemaPhore™ platforms). The Company currently has two flagship siRNA programs in preclinical development beyond in vivo proof of concept: AM-401 for KRAS driven cancer and AM-411 for rheumatoid arthritis. The versatile delivery platform is also suited for mRNA and other types of RNA therapeutics and is planned to be leveraged via out-licensing to pharma or biotech companies. In addition, Altamira is in the process of divesting and/or out-licensing its legacy assets in allergology and viral infection (Bentrio® OTC nasal spray; commercial) and inner ear therapeutics (AM-125 nasal spray for vertigo; post Phase 2; Keyzilen® and Sonsuvi® for tinnitus and hearing loss; Phase 3). Founded in 2003, Altamira is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, with its main operations in Basel, Switzerland. For more information, visit: https://altamiratherapeutics.com/
About Heqet Therapeutics
Heqet Therapeutics, Turin, Italy, is a spin-out company from King’s College London founded in 2022. It was founded on ground-breaking research in cardiac regeneration conducted by Professor Mauro Giacca. The company is currently advancing its ncRNA-based compounds into preclinical development. At its inception, Heqet Therapeutics raised GBP 6.6 million (about $8.5 million) in a Series A financing round led by Claris Ventures and 2Invest. https://www.heqettherapeutics.com/
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