Molecular Partners Doses First Cohort in Phase 1 Trial of COVID-19 DARPin® Therapeutic Candidate MP0420
Zurich-Schlieren, Switzerland, November 23, 2020. Molecular Partners AG (SIX: MOLN), a clinical-stage biotech company that is developing a new class of custom-built protein drugs known as DARPin® therapeutics, today announced that a first cohort of eight healthy volunteers has been dosed in a Phase 1 first-in-human study of MP0420 (ensovibep), a DARPin® therapeutic candidate for the potential treatment and prevention of COVID-19. MP0420 is designed to bind the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at three distinct locations to prevent viral entry into cells. Preclinical data support MP0420’s potential efficacy as both a prophylactic and as an acute therapy. MP0420 is subject to an option and license agreement with Novartis AG to develop, manufacture and commercialize Molecular Partners’ anti-COVID-19 DARPin® program.
“Our anti-COVID-19 program is aimed at delivering an efficacious, highly scalable, and globally distributable therapeutic that has the potential to both treat infected patients and protect high risk populations,” said Nicolas Leupin, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Molecular Partners. “In collaboration with our partner, Novartis, our team continues to move at extraordinary speed from idea to bench to clinical trials, driven by a common desire to help patients against this devastating disease and help bring the world back closer to normalcy.”
Conducted in the United Kingdom, the trial is a Phase 1, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, first-in-human single ascending dose study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of intravenously administered MP0420 in up to 24 healthy volunteers divided into three dose cohorts, with each cohort stratified 3:1 in favor of MP0420.