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Molecular Partners develops treatment for COVID-19

The biotechnology firm Molecular Partners has launched a therapy program to combat COVID-19. The company has developed artificial proteins aimed at neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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Generic Image: Stefan Heesch via Unsplash

Molecular Partners is developing DARPins (Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins). These are artificial proteins that recognize antigens and are able to bind to them. This should facilitate that development of innovative medication. The biotechnology company has now identified several DARPins that should neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as the company outlines in a press release. Molecular Partners has developed these DARPins in such a way that they target three parts of a virus protein, which is key for the virus to enter human cells. A corresponding therapy program has also been started based on this.

Initial tests performed by Molecular Partners in conjunction with the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) have already confirmed the potential of the DARPins in terms of virus neutralizations. According to the press release, the data available reveals that the multi-specific DARPins used have shown sufficiently large antiviral activity.

Patrick Amstutz, CEO of Molecular Partners, states in the press release that the selection of DARPin candidates was concluded within the space of a month. He also expects that human testing can be implemented relatively quickly. Molecular Partners could begin production activities from the third quarter of 2020 onwards.

Molecular Partners is a listed company and spin-off from the University of Zurich (UZH). Its headquarters are located in Bio-Technopark Schlieren-Zürich.

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