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Artemis new data on Artemisone shows potent inhibitor of human cytomegalovirus replication in preclinical assays

San Diego
Monday, June 11, 2018, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]

Artemis Therapeutics, Inc., a pharmaceutical company developing new therapies for the treatment of infectious diseases, including cytomegalovirus and malaria, announced that new data on its lead product candidate Artemisone shows it is a potent inhibitor of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replication in preclinical assays.  

The company’s chief medical officer, Dana Wolf, M.D., Ph.D., had shared the data in an oral presentation on June 9th at the American Society of Microbiology annual meeting in Atlanta (ASM Microbe 2018), as part of Session 305, CMV Resistance: Limited Options but a Promising Future.

“CMV is a major cause of disease in immunocompromised individuals, such as stem cell and other transplant patients. The combination of a growing patient population and the limitations of existing antiviral treatments underscore the need for new antiviral agents with alternative modes of action,” said Brian Culley, CEO of Artemis. “While we previously have shown Artemisone’s potential against malaria in a clinical setting, this is our first presentation at a scientific meeting of Artemisone’s potential to work against HCMV and the preclinical results are highly promising. We are honored for Dr. Wolf to be presenting these data at the ASM meeting and look forward to moving this program into the clinic next year and reporting additional results soon.”

Dr. Wolf’s presentation will provide data that shows Artemisone effectively inhibits laboratory-adapted and low-passage clinical strains of HCMV as well as drug-resistant HCMV strains. Further, its antiviral efficacy is not only comparable to ganciclovir, but also approximately 10-fold greater than artesunate in all cell lines studied. The data indicates Artemisone is a reversible HCMV inhibitor, targeting an earlier phase of the viral replication cycle than does ganciclovir, suggesting a novel mechanism of action.

Artemis’ lead product candidate, Artemisone (ar-tem-iss-ohn), is being developed as a best-in-class treatment for malaria and first-in-class treatment for CMV. Artemisone is a semi-synthetic 10-alpha-amino derivative of artemisinin, the discovery of which shared one-half of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Artemisone was selected as a therapeutic product candidate based on properties that distinguish it from other artemisinin derivatives, including greater potency, lower predicted neurotoxicity, better stability, half-life, and solubility. Notably, Artemisone relies on a non-DHA metabolic pathway, which distinguishes it from currently used artemisinins. This feature may provide important clinical advantages in terms of fighting resistance, blocking disease transmission, or treating severe and/or cerebral malaria. Additionally, recent laboratory research has shown that the antiviral potency of Artemisone against human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is as robust as the current FDA-approved agent, ganciclovir, and approximately ten times greater than that of a related compound, artesunate. Further in vitro studies with Artemisone have demonstrated efficacy against drug-resistant strains of CMV with evidence for a novel mechanism of action.


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