1 Episode results for "Aqua Lung Therapeutics"
Why An Experimental Therapy for Inflammatory Disorders Could Help the Fight Against COVID-19
"Hey listeners of the bio report I WanNa tell you about a new member benefit from the California Technology Council. Ctc has teamed with Rent Prada offer member six months of reprobates cut network service for free which gives companies the power of a VPN at a fraction of the cost. A remote flexible workforce is the new normal but most corporate networks are built to accommodate work from home. It's scale repre. Vodkas cotton network offers an easily deployable affordable and scalable solution to securely enable remote workers and protect the corporate network to learn more about this and other member benefits go to California technology dot org forward slash member benefits. I'm Daniel Levin. And this is the report As a researcher Joe Garcia Applied Functional Genomics to understanding genes that contribute to inflammatory disorders such as acute respiratory distress syndrome or arts as founder and CEO of the Biotech Company. Akwa Lung Therapeutics. He's working to advanced therapies to hit these novel targets to treat unchecked inflammation with the company's lead experimental therapeutic candidate targeting arts. We spoke to Garcia about the company's arts. Therapy how it works. And why it's time we focus given the cove nineteen pandemic Joe. Thanks for joining us. To be here thing we're going to talk about Aqua Lung Therapeutics Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or arts and your efforts to develop a treatment for this condition. Let's start with ours though. What is it and how big a health challenge? Does it represent about half a million people. Every year get air F- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in the United States alone. And you know close to two million. Maybe globally so it's it's not a uncommon Disorder But it is a extremely challenging to treat disorder because mortality of this. Anyone that had gets a yard is Thirty to forty percents In the US and it's probably higher Outside the US what makes it so challenging to treat? Well it's It's sort of the ultimate in inch in the stress to To a human being in that They have multiple attacks on a variety of Oregon starting with the lung though the the most common causes of ARD s are sepsis which is infection in the bloodstream and trauma and Smoking elation will do it and that Curiel and viral pneumonias and so as a result the starts off with inflammation in the lung from those particular Causes the inflammation becomes waves waves of amplify inflammation that starts to affect other organs. Like your kidneys and heart and ultimately patients with AIDS wind up. They don't survive. They die from that multi organ failure and that he's organs weren't able to sustain the inflammatory injury we've heard a lot about the respiratory challenges that can occur to people infected with the covid nineteen virus are the ones who end up on respirators suffering from arts and what role does arts play in the mortality of patients with Covid nineteen arches probably the primary cause of death in most of the cove in nineteen patients. At least that's what the the reports from China and elsewhere suggesting Covid NINETEEN INDUCE. Cards has a lot of similarities to garden variety area but it also has some unique changes that that may not be typical. Air S. as well and The ventilator Think this is an important part of the story. That patients with With Kobe nineteen viral infection or other causes of Respiratory distress like I mentioned substance or bacterial pneumonia trauma and you have Increasing respiratory distress your lungs. Start to fill with Lewis and the work of breathing when your lungs are. Our full of fluid is very very rate. So these patients generally run out of Energy the fatigue and they need then later to help with their respiration and so the the the the irony of of this is that the ventilator while saving your life because your new patients for an out of energy agreed on their own then later also the major cause for information as well. That's been known for now sometime and so strategies to address a yes whether it's cove nineteen induced or otherwise need to take into account the fact that then later contributes to that inflammatory burden patients with they as an academic. You've done functional genomics work that identified candidate genes that contribute to inflammatory disorders. Such as arts this led to a focus on the NAP. Jean what is Napkin? And what role does it play in the inflammatory cascade? Yes well that's That's exactly right. Dan we Early on when I was a cheap home area at Johns Hopkins the New Year early. Two thousands we are group there. through clinical trials that was published in the New England Journal in this clinical. We identified the fact that the later contributed some mortality in they already s and and the hypothesis was that the way that Ben later contributes mortality. It was it was causing excessive increases in inflammation so at that point my laboratory My Research Laboratory at Hopkins we We've again focusing very Aggressively on trying to identify genes. That might be involved in. How the ventilator induced that inflammation and This is how we found that gene. That's called NAM. Nam stands for nicotinamide Fossil Rizal Transfer. A is a protein that has a normal function inside the cell. But when it's secreted from the cell floats in the bloodstream. It is a very potent planetary mediator. And the reason we think NANCE's A pretty novel target for then later induced lung injury and they are s in general including cove in nineteen induced area. Is that this. Gene is induced very early. It's one of the first genes induce patient or a animals exposed to Mechanical Ventilation is this unique to the lungs or is this across inflammatory conditions. Well That's a great question The that is induced by many different stimuli in the lung. The event is the cause of Nancy to secreted hype poxy A- me low concentrations of of oxygen in the blood. So that could occur in any Oregon. If the if the person is low on oxygen in the blood politics that is a stimulus for more NAM secretion and You know other inflammatory stimuli and In in can cause an increase in NAM PRODUCTION. As well so it's not unique to the lung but the lung When you have These inflammatory mediators released because Nance's induced the expression of a lot of these mediators. The mediators cause inflammation and part of inflammation is leaking. Blood vessels the blood vessels become leaky during inflammation. So you can see in the lung. Which has the largest blood vessels system in the body the largest surface area of blood vessels when you have leaky blood vessels in the long? It's catastrophic strategic and that's what causes the lungs blood fluid before the requiring a ventilator so it's sort of It is definitely a a cycle of inflammation leaking increasing. Needs for a mechanical ventilation is a matter of the immune system getting over revved as it were what's understood about the biology of arts. That's also a terrific question. Dan The you know. There's a lot of variation a Lotta heterogeneity that were in how people respond to arts for example There's no doubt that genetics plays a major influence on On outcomes and area individuals of African descent than and Hispanics have an increased predisposition to develop arts and have an increased mortality with arts. I think you're following the cove in nineteen Epidemiology going on in this country. You will find out that cities that have a relatively. Small percentage of African Americans in the community have a much higher out of proportion mortality and That's true in cities that have larger percentage of African Americans in this city as well and You know we've been evaluating genetic variant that contribute to African descent individuals susceptibility to hair. And it's Their the immune system of African descent individuals are fundamentally different from Non Hispanic Price. And so they have a very robust response to inflammatory stimuli likes covid. Nineteen like bacteria among like sepsis. So there's a lot of variables involved in and we're very interested Part of our quest to understand the ardia. We're very interested. In further identifying genetic variant that are race and ethnicity specific are treated today arches. A has always been Primarily treated with then later supportive care. There are no. Fda approved therapies for area and Then before the COVID nineteen Penn pandemic Very few clinical trials relatively the gravity of the disease Taking Place of course covid nineteen pandemic. There's this is all change. There's a quite a number of of of compounds being contemplated for using clinical trials as part of the Costa Covid nineteen pandemic specifically to address area. And it's excessive mortality. You're developing an experimental therapy. Lt. One hundred what is L. T? One hundred so So I mentioned that Nabbed is a protein that very early on In the course of era yes Generated secreted into the bloodstream. We've measured napped in the blood of patients as they develop a rds. It's high with with trauma with cephas and with MONJA and it gets higher when that patient is put on the and continues to increase as they're on the vent so because it's the ability to induce through a receptor called the whole like receptor four which is a very important Innate immunity the receptor napped binds. This receptor induces tremendous inflammation. So our one hundred is our Humanized monoclonal antibody that we have Generated screened after screening many Yuri multiple antibodies and many many humanized monoclonal. Antibodies male. T. One hundred vines napped with very high affinity and neutralize it. We believe it could be a very important part of a of a a therapeutic strategy to reduce inflammation particularly. If we can give this antibody early I mean our thoughts are within our our program here or to deliver this antibody at or before. The time of patient requires mechanical ventilation in order to completely take out ventilator induced lung injury as part of the contributing elements to increase mortality. You've developed a diagnostic. That you believe can predict likely responders to Lt. One hundred is the idea to develop this as a precision medicine and pair the diagnostic with the therapy. Yes that's a really good point so so are thinking Prior to ninety our our our our strategy was to use a platform that we call eating answer because it has three pieces. It's got the humanized. Monoclonal antibody t one hundred as you just mentioned. We have a diagnostic biomarker essay that detect snapped in the blood plasma patients with area. We also have a genetic test that Gina types patients for these genetic variants that we have shown if you have these variants you're at significantly higher risk of Area and they already s mortality so in doing clinical trial we would absolut absolutely Choose to select patients that have higher levels of Namur flood have the genetic variant that makes them more susceptible to avoid outcome remarried and choose those or testing whether our antibody can improve survival in the course of a pandemic where experiencing right. Now I believe the antibody could and should be used in a clinical trial for all commerce and And then we can determine whether the the biomarkers genetic tests have the capacity of identifying those who are most likely to respond to the end to the therapy. You're pursuing on number of indications most of which have to do with lung injury. If I remember correctly also on the list was prostate cancer. How does that fit in with the mechanism of action here? Yeah that's a good question to Dan. So yes we have an by virtue of the fact. That NAM is such a pro. Inflammatory central regulator of inflammation. It wouldn't be surprising that now would be involved in other processes besides acute lung injury like area and so Inflammation in the in the answer to your question really is the fact that inflammation is a critical biological processes normal part of responding to the environment et CETERA and as a result in it or interact with other biological processes like programmed cell death like cancer development like remodeling and fibrosis inflammation influences. All of those other biological and biological processes now in prostate cancer just to get specific to your question Prostate cancer is Cancer like other cancers that are influenced by implementation when you have inflammation in the presence of the cancers particularly in cells that are secreting Vita kind around the tumors those stimulate A change in in a very aggressive chancer sort of phenotype so prostate cancer cells for example in the prostate gland maybe indolence in the prostate clan. Quiet until they get exposed cited a kind of inflammatory mediators that tournament. Too aggressive metastatic cells. That's there's A. There's a growing appreciation for this and the cancer literature in our preclinical data suggests that Nancy a driver of that aggressive metastatic behavior of the prostate cancer cells. You've been successful at securing. A number of grants through your history. Are you exclusively grant funded? Today we We are definitely looking for a series a funding. I think we're getting closer This will allow it to to move into our phase one. A and one B Clinical Trials We've gone through a seat stage round where To the tune of about seven hundred thousand dollars but to your point yes we. We've been very successful Fortunately with obtaining non dilutive grant funding from the NIH To the tune of six million or so and with more on the horizon but We really do need those those dollars. Don't pay for manufacturing body. We need a series as the state and I guess I should have asked you at the front but are you a scuba diver or a jethro. Tull fan not the former definitely the ladder Joe Garcia founder and CEO of Akwa Lung Therapeutics. Joe Thanks so much for your time today thank you. Dan think they're good luck. Thanks for listening. The buyer report is a production of the Levin Media Group to automatically. Download this podcast. Each week subscribe to our speed or through. I tunes or other podcast manager. 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