Chapel Hill’s Path BioAnalytics Joins COVID-19 Battle
Chapel Hill-based Path BioAnalytics (PBA) has joined forces with Australian researchers to study a new drug to fight SARS-related Coronoavirus-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Researchers at Recce Pharmaceuticals in Sydney, Australia, have developed two drugs to fight the virus, RECCE 327 and RECCE 529. PBA will evaluate the drugs’ effectiveness using its respiratory organoid technology. Organoids are lab developed cells or tissue that resemble a human organ.
In the early stages of the pandemic, PBA recognized its technology could play a critical role in research related to COVID-19. To assist in the fight against the disease, the compay says it has temporarily suspended its internal programs and is fully focused on helping research teams from around the world develop vaccines and therapeutics targeting COVID-19.
“We are working with companies and research groups around the world to evaluate the effectiveness of their treatments for COVID-19,” said John Mellnik, CEO of PBA. “SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus. PBA's unique value is our ability to produce respiratory organoids from primary human cells. These organoids do an excellent job mimicking the in vivo respiratory environment, which allows us to better study the virus and evaluate new treatments.”
RECCE 327 is a broad-spectrum antibiotic formulated using synthetic polymer technology to treat blood infections and sepsis. RECCE 529 is a new synthetic polymer formulation built upon Recce’s anti-infective technology. The purpose of the study is to evaluate both therapies for prevention and mitigation of the disease and will take place at Biosafety Level 3 containment labs, where the organoids will be infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Recce chose PBA after receiving interest from the world’s leading universities and biotech companies.
“The current pandemic underscores the need for more effective treatment approaches to prevent infectious diseases,” said John Prendergast, Recce Pharmaceuticals non-executive chairman, in a statement. “Over the past few months, Recce has received a number of inquests from several universities and research organizations to collaborate on the development of potential new therapies to address the unmet needs of patients with COVID-19. We’re excited to be working with experts at Path BioAnalytics to investigate the potential effectiveness of Recce’s compounds in treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection using their advanced respiratory organoid model system.”
PBA was founded in 2014 in Chapel Hill and uses patient-derived disease models and artificial intelligence to advance treatments for targeted patient populations.