HOUSTON, April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 7 Hills Pharma, a clinical stage immunotherapy company focused on development of drugs for the treatment and prevention of cancer and infectious diseases, announced today that it has launched a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine program for older adults.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in 2019 as the cause of COVID-19, for which a global pandemic was declared in early March. The new disease is characterized by severe flu-like symptoms, and age appears to be an important risk factor for death from COVID-19. Women and men over the age of 65 have a higher reported mortality.

In response to the urgent need for an effective vaccine, 7 Hills Pharma President and CEO Upendra Marathi said his company is launching an evaluation of its lead compound 7HP349, a next-generation small molecule integrin activator, as an oral adjuvant with a novel recombinant coronavirus vaccine, laying the foundation for potential clinical testing in late 2020.

“We are looking for collaborators with clinical-stage inactivated, live attenuated, or vectored coronavirus vaccines that may be enhanced with our adjuvant for at-risk subjects, including the elderly,” Marathi said.

Integrins are cell adhesion molecules essential for a productive immune response. They are critical for antigen presentation and immune priming. Prolonged integrin mediated cell adhesion improves immunologic memory. 

7 Hills Pharma has developed a novel, systemic means to improve adjuvantation by triggering integrins α4β1 and αLβ2 and augmenting any antigen-specific immune responses.

“We expect our cell adhesion agents will greatly enhance the efficacy of emerging vaccines against this coronavirus,” Marathi said. “Although this approach is potentially applicable for all ages, older subjects have lower immune responses to vaccines in general, and may respond particularly well.”

Working with several leading universities, 7 Hills Pharma has demonstrated that 7HP349 augments prophylactic vaccine responses against influenza, Chagas disease and tuberculosis in preclinical models. Thus, 7HP349 can facilitate a more productive immune response against a variety of antigens from infectious diseases, as well as solid tumor cancers.

About 7 Hills Pharma
7 Hills Pharma is focused on the development of novel and cost-efficient immunomodulatory agents that leverage well-known integrin biology to drive and enhance essential steps in the immune cycle.  The company’s lead programs are designed to improve the effectiveness of immuno-oncology therapies including checkpoint inhibitors, vaccines, and cord blood transplantation in the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases.  For more information, visit www.7hillspharma.com.

Media Contacts:

Robert Williams
Robert@7hillspharma.com