Meletios Therapeutics Raises €3.8 Million for the Development of a New Generation of Antiviral Treatments
Meletios Therapeutics, a French biotechnology company specialized in the research and development of next-generation antiviral treatments, announced today a fund raising of €3.8 million to accelerate its research programs aimed at identifying and developing a new generation of antiviral treatments.
This financing is composed of a €2.8 million round from family offices and business angels as well as two loans of €700k and €300k from Bpifrance. It allowed Meletios Therapeutics to finalize a proof-of-concept study for its first product and will help the Company to rapidly launch a first clinical trial, while pursuing the research and development of new innovative antiviral compounds.
Viral epidemics, a cornerstone of human health history
Steady increases of the human population, high degrees of crowding in large cities and the disturbance of natural wildlife habitats are major factors facilitating the emergence of viruses from their natural reservoir and their transmission from one host to another. This provides a very favourable environment for the emergence of epidemic waves capable of spreading rapidly throughout the world.
However, it is not a new phenomenon: the history of mankind abounds with these blazing and often devastating periods, of which the COVID-19 pandemic is only a recent example.
The result of years of virology research now allows the implementation of more effective and rapid preventive responses, throughout the development of vaccines capable of reducing significantly the chances of being infected or developing an infection-related disease. However, there are limitations to this strategy. The development of a vaccine requires a perfect knowledge of the virus involved and its genome in order to develop the best possible protection. This protection can also be rendered ineffective or bypassed by the emergence of variants from the targeted virus. In addition, some viral infections cannot be prevented with a vaccine despite years of research. Finally, a preventive strategy may take a long time to implement and will not ensure recovery or treatment of patients already infected with symptoms.
There is a real need for new antiviral treatments, capable of targeting one or more viruses as well as allowing the management of infected patients. The availability of new therapeutic compounds that can be used at the first signs of infection will contribute to the implementation of therapeutic approaches that are complementary to international vaccination strategies. This tool is necessary to strengthen the fight against current and future viral epidemics.
Broad-spectrum antiviral treatments to improve therapeutic responsiveness to epidemics
Founded in April 2020 during the first lockdown period, Meletios Therapeutics aims to develop innovative antiviral molecules to treat a wide range of diseases.
Meletios Therapeutics is developing complementary approaches to identify compounds with high therapeutic potential in the fight against viral infections.
The company is targeting the development of broad-spectrum antiviral treatments capable of treating multiple indications through their innovative mechanism of action.
Meletios Therapeutics’ first program with its lead drug candidate MLT103 is focused on the development of small antiviral molecules capable of targeting key points in host metabolism that are hijacked by viruses for replication. To date, MLT103 is a molecule that has already proven its clinical safety in other indications and has demonstrated in vitro and in vivo proof-of-concept for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. Meletios Therapeutics now intends to start a clinical trial to evaluate MLT103 in this indication as soon as possible.
Meletios Therapeutics also leads a second research program that focuses on the development of compounds capable of inhibiting or directly interacting with the replication mechanisms of viruses. This kind of approach is more commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry for the development of antiviral treatments. It would allow to target entire families of viruses using the same replication methods and thus, ensure a broader spectrum of action than conventional antivirals.
“The recent Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for drugs to immediately treat a viral infection unknown to health services. These drugs are also essential to support the short- and long-term deployment of preventive vaccination strategies,” said Catherine Martre, Chief Executive Officer of Meletios Therapeutics. “Meletios Therapeutics intends to use the knowledge and experience in virology of its scientific experts team to evaluate all possible therapeutic avenues for the development of new compounds capable of being active on any viral strain at the first signs of infection. We are delighted with this initial funding which demonstrates the strong institutional support for our unique approach and look forward to initiating the first clinical studies.”
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