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  • Immuron (IMC) shares have spiked this morning after the biopharmaceutical company updated the market on recent studies of its IMM-124E drug
  • IMM-124E is the active pharmaceutical ingredient used to make Immuron’s gastrointestinal and digestive health products Travelan and Protectyn
  • The drug has shown antiviral activity in SARS-CoV-2
  • IMC notes this effect appears to offer a new modality for inhibiting the virus
  • Monash University Professor Dena Lyras says studies have not yet identified which compound in the products are responsible for the effect
  • The company’s research team will now attempt to isolate and identify the inhibitory molecules present in IMM-124E
  • Meanwhile, IMC has appointed Dr Dan Peres as Chief Medical Officer
  • Immuron shares are up 11.8 per cent, trading at 19 cents each

Immuron (IMC) shares have spiked this morning after the biopharmaceutical company updated the market on recent studies of its IMM-124E drug.

IMM-124E is the active pharmaceutical ingredient used to make Immuron’s over-the-counter gastrointestinal products Travelan and Protectyn.

The products are used to treat diarrhoea and support digestive health, however, IMM-124E has shown antiviral activity in SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.

In December the company entered into a research agreement with Monash University to analyse the drug’s relevance to SARS-CoV-2.

The studies now suggest the drug’s inhibitory activity is novel and does not bind to the spike protein or the receptor-binding domain that SARS-CoV-2 uses to dock to the cells it infects.

According to IMC, the SARS-CoV-2 and Bovine Corona viruses (BCoV) are closely related phylogenetically.

The company says the immunological homology in highly conserved structures between the two viruses could therefore be the cause of the reported inhibition.

In this way, IMC says immune recognition of viral structural proteins M and S2 by anti-BCoV antibodies in IMM-124E could potentially cause the inactivation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Monash University’s Professor Dena Lyras commented on the research.

“Our initial results suggest the inhibitory substance or substances in the products are binding to other antigens present on the SARC-CoV-2 virus, which interfere with the mechanism the virus uses to gain entry and infect human cells,” Professor Lyras said.

“We do not yet know which compound or compounds in the products are responsible for this interference, however we are excited to try and identify them.

“It does not matter whether antagonists to the SARS-CoV-2 virus block the binding of the spike protein directly as long as they can prevent or reduce infection.”

Notably, the described antiviral effect differs from most vaccines under development, which IMC says directly target the spike protein.

The research team will now attempt to isolate and identify the inhibitory molecules present in IMM-124E.

Meanwhile, Immuron has appointed Dr Dan Peres as the company’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dr Peres will take on the responsibility of managing and leading IMC’s clinical development programs with a preliminary focus on COVID-19.

On the market this morning, Immuron shares have spiked 11.8 per cent to trade at 19 cents each at 11:55 am AEST.

IMC by the numbers
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