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Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) - Managing Director & CEO, Graham kelly
Managing Director & CEO, Graham kelly
Source: Noxopharm/Twitter
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  • Noxopharm (NOX) signs licensing agreement with Hudson Institute of Medical Research for its cutting-edge ribonucleic acid (RNA) technology
  • The licence is subject to clinical trials and marketing approvals for both RNA drug discovery and mRNA vaccine manufacture
  • RNA drugs, already under development by Hudson, will add to the existing Pharmorage assets
  • RNA technology is seen as a key contributor for future drug and vaccine development
  • On the market today, Noxopharm was in the grey and trading at 48.5 cents per share

Noxopharm (NOX) has entered into a licence agreement with Hudson Institute of Medical Research for its cutting-edge ribonucleic acid (RNA) technology.

The licence is subject to clinical trials and marketing approvals for both RNA drug discovery and mRNA vaccine manufacture.

RNA drugs, already under development by Hudson, will add to the existing Pharmorage assets and help position Noxopharm at the forefront of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases drug development.

RNA technology is seen as a key contributor for the future drug and vaccine development, giving both parties a “ground-floor opportunity” to be part of this growing market.

Hudson’s platform is focused on the use of RNA fragments — oligonucleotides — to reduce inflammation.

The platform achieves this in a number of novel ways, two of which Pharmorage intends to pursue. The first is the development of drugs as treatments of inflammatory
and autoimmune diseases. The second is to apply it to improve the safety and manufacturing efficiency of mRNA vaccines.

Noxopharm CEO and Managing Director, Graham Kelly, said this licence is a “major coup for the company.”

“Pharmorage already had a strong business relationship with Hudson with a major initiative in antiinflammatory drug development,” he said.

“The RNA technology and its anti-inflammatory functions is an obvious fit and an opportunity with which we are delighted to be entrusted.”

RNA drug programs

The success of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines has put a spotlight on RNA technology, but the technology was already in use in the treatment of muscular dystrophy and hypercholesterolaemia.

The licence comes with several lead RNA drugs being developed as treatments for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

These drugs target key immune sensors at the root of the inflammatory response. They have been successfully tested in cell models, with Pharmorage now to advance them into animal models.

mRNA vaccine program

One key issue of mRNA vaccine technology is unwanted inflammatory side effects including fatigue, severe headaches, chills and injection-site pain.

This issue can be tempered by injecting less mRNA, but this strategy limits the strength of the immune response and therefore can be less protective.

Another approach, used by both Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, involves a chemical
modification of the mRNA designed to limit this side-effect by reducing activation of a cell immune sensor known as TLR7.

This method allows these two vaccines to use about 2.5 to eight times more mRNA than if they were non-modified.

Notably, this modification is licensed to both Pfizer and Moderna. However, the downside is that there is a reduction in the efficiency of vaccine production by 20 to 40 per cent and it can also have an untoward effect on protein translation.

The Hudson technology provides a way of switching off TLR7 without reducing manufacturing efficiencies.

“With this IP going to the heart of vaccine manufacturing efficiencies, Noxopharm sees
it being of major interest to current manufacturers and developers of mRNA vaccines for
coronavirus and other viral infections,” Noxopharm said in a statement today.

Commenting on this technology is Hudson Associate Professor and lead scientist for this technology, Michael Gantier.

“Following on our efforts to characterise how TLR7 sensing is impacted by RNA
chemical modifications, we have discovered a new class of TLR7 inhibitors that can outcompete immune sensing of therapeutic RNAs such as those used in mRNA vaccines; we propose that these inhibitors could be used in conjunction with therapeutic RNAs to limit their side-effects in patients and maximise their therapeutic potential,” he said.

On the market today, Noxopharm was in the grey and trading at 48.5 cents per share at 12:50 pm AEDT.

NOX by the numbers
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