OliX Pharmaceuticals Advances RNAi Approaches to Target Highly Conserved Regions of Coronavirus RNAs


  • OliX has been developing novel delivery approaches for siRNAs to the lung tissue
  • OliX’s local pulmonary administration of siRNA drugs through nebulization may contribute to improved treatment efficacy
  • OliX’s previous research on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis shows that inhaled siRNA formulation allows effective knockdown of target genes expressed in the lung tissue in animal models
  • OliX plans to secure cp-asiRNA lead compounds ready for animal model testing in approximately 3 months

SUWON, South Korea, March 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OliX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (KOSDAQ: 226950), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi), announced today that it will leverage previous preclinical research for developing siRNA therapeutics in treating respiratory illnesses to investigate a path forward for developing a COVID-19 therapy.

COVID-19 belongs to a family of coronaviruses that can cause respiratory disease. In late 2002, the SARS coronavirus emerged and then largely disappeared by 2004. OliX Pharmaceuticals plans to further investigate an advanced pre-clinical therapeutic candidate that could protect against COVID-19. OliX has confirmed that their siRNAs show highly efficient knockdown of the viral RNA sequences through in vitro assay.

“Some siRNA developed by OliX target highly conserved regions of coronavirus RNA,” said Dong Ki Lee, Ph.D., CEO and CSO of OliX Pharmaceuticals. “Through our previous research on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, we have established an inhalable formulation of siRNA therapeutics that can effectively inhibit the expression of disease-causing genes in the lung tissue. This platform technology can be directly applied to tackle respiratory infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The initial data that we are seeing from the candidate siRNA molecules is exciting. These efforts are at an early stage but being given a high priority within the company, we expect to have a lead compound ready to test in animals within three months.”

OliX Pharmaceuticals filed a provisional patent application to advance the development of RNAi therapeutics against COVID-19 on February 25, 2020. The patent provides broad composition of matter claims to more than 30 small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) designs that target available genomes of the COVID virus, which are highly conserved regions compared to other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS and can potentially be used effectively against coronaviruses. Specifically, the target regions are coding the proteins for playing an important role in virus replication (e.g., 3CL-protease, RNA-dependent, RNA polymerase, and Spike protein). The siRNAs would operate within the RNAi pathway, where it interferes with the expression of the genes with complementary nucleotide sequences by degrading mRNA after transcription, resulting in no translation.  

OliX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

OliX Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing therapeutics against a variety of disorders by down-regulating expression of disease-causing genes, based on its own proprietary RNAi technology. The Company’s core RNAi platform, asymmetric siRNA (asiRNA), is a unique gene silencing technology based on RNA interference (RNAi), which is considered as the most efficient gene silencing technology. Based on asiRNA technology, OliX has developed cell penetrating asiRNA (cp-asiRNA), a therapeutic RNAi platform to effectively target locally administrable diseases, such as hypertrophic scar, dry and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), subretinal fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and neuropathic pain. OliX has also developed another therapeutic RNAi platform, GalNAc-asiRNA, to target a variety of liver diseases.

Learn more: https://www.olixpharma.com/eng/main/main.php

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