Neutrolis announces development of enzyme for severe COVID-19

Aug. 7, 2020

Neutrolis, a biotechnology company developing therapeutics that target neutrophils, has announced the development of NTR-441, a first-in-class DNASE1L3 enzyme analog that has the potential to rapidly and systemically clear neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) for severe cases of COVID-19, according to a press release from the company. NETs are a fundamental arm of the immune system and play an important role in chronic and acute diseases.

“We believe NETs are the common factor that explains the mysterious multisystem complications of COVID-19,” said Toby Fox, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder of Neutrolis. “Our lead compound, NTR-441, and other molecules from our Chromatinase platform are the only drugs currently in development that could systemically remove NETs from the body. Thanks in part to competitive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R43HL150944), we will test whether NTR-441 is effective in ARDS, the most lethal manifestation of COVID-19.”

Several independent investigators have observed NETs in the lungs of autopsied COVID-19 patients and observed that NETs biomarkers in patient blood correlate with the clinical severity of COVID-19.

“We just published a study of patients who succumbed to COVID-19 in EBioMedicine, which was published by The Lancet. Surprisingly, we found NETs congesting blood vessels in the lungs of all patients. Clearing these NETs with NTR-441 to restore blood flow may help patients survive COVID-19,” said Martin Herrmann, MD, PhD, Professor of Experimental Medicine from the University Hospital Erlangen in Germany, who has studied NETs extensively for the past 15 years.

“NETs may also induce microthrombosis in many organs causing organ failure or strokes. All of these thrombotic events are highly prevalent in COVID-19 patients,” said Denisa Wagner, PhD, Edwin Cohn Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), Harvard Medical School, which licensed Neutrolis some of the intellectual property that underpins the Chromatinase platform.

Visit Neutrolis for more news