Aptavir Ulisse BioMed has developed a technology platform for the identification and production of antiviral molecules, called aptamers, capable of limiting the infectivity of pathogens and that could be used for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. Aptamers are one of only a few classes of molecules that, like antibodies, can be crafted to bind to multiple different targets: they are extremely versatile and bind targets with high selectivity and specificity.
The potential products that can be developed thanks to the Aptavir platform include, according to management plans, the following applications:
- Aptamers for therapeutic purposes. Ulisse BioMed has already developed aptamers for the treatment and prevention of cutaneous HPV, thus this technology can be used to produce aptamers aimed at the prevention and treatment of any pathogen. UBM plans to develop an aptamer to prevent and treat Sars-CoV-2, which could be integrated in a nasal spray;
- Additives for pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. Aptamers could be additives for pharmaceutical or cosmetic products to enhance their therapeutic capabilities. For instance, they could be used in skin creams, oils, condom lubricants and genital gels in order to enhance their features for prevention or treatment of diseases.
UBM filed an international patent application in 2018 for aptamers for the prevention and treatment of HPV and is in the process of filing an international patent application related to aptamers for protection against Sars-CoV-2.
Aptamers might represent an effective and economical alternative to monoclonal antibodies. In fact, they have several advantages:
- They are faster and cheaper to produce, as once the optimal sequence has been selected, production of new batches of material is fast and inexpensive;
- can attack very small molecules, as aptamers are small and can penetrate tissues and cells and reach specific targets;
- less burdensome approval processes as aptamers’ production does not involve the use of biological material.