Currently, there is a monoclonal antibody on the market - Synagis® (palivizumab) that is used to prevent RSV infection in preterm newborns. This antibody is given once a month over the course of the ~5 months-long season and has been able to cut the number of hospitalizations due to RSV infection by 50%. This antibody has not been used to treat at-risk adults, however. Given that the required dose would need to be fifteen times higher than that for newborns, there is a need for a more potent and cost-effective treatment. In addition, Synagis is ineffective against MPV.
Humabs believes it has the only immunotherapy – MPE8 – in development to simultaneously treat RSV and MPV. The Company’s preclinical development candidate has shown similarly high affinity and potency against each of these viruses and targets a highly-conserved epitope on the fusion protein of RSV and MPV, thereby reducing the risk of viral escape mutants. MPE8 has been shown to be ten times more potent in vitro than Synagis and 3-5 times more potent in vivo. Additionally, MPE8 exhibits in primate models exceptionally long serum half-life, which indicates that potentially only two injections, rather than the 5 normally required for the currently marketed product, might be needed to cover a season. These features clearly differentiate the Humabs product candidate from Synagis, as well as other products in development. Data on MPE8 have been published in the scientific journal, Nature.