Monopar Therapeutics: A Plan for a Test that Predicts COVID-19 Patients Who Might Likely Develop Severe Respiratory Failure

A Predictive COVID-19 Test?

COVID-19 infected people are not all affected to the same degree with regards to the severity of the disease complications. There is no doubt that a test that can predict which patients will be severely affected and which will not might save a lot of lives, money and unnecessary time spent in crowded hospitals.   

Monopar Therapeutics in the NEWS 

Monopar Therapeutics (MNPR) announced its plan to develop a test to potentially triage COVID-19 patients who will likely progress to severe respiratory failure from those who will not.

Monopar’s proprietary monoclonal antibody, ATN-658, would be used to detect soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) in COVID-19 patient plasma.

If successful the suPAR test for COVID-19 patients could identify those who are at high risk for severe respiratory failure. This early knowledge would allow for the staging of patients to an optimal treatment based on their disease characteristics.

Monopar has developed a prototype enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measuring blood suPAR levels using its ATN-658 antibody. The firm is now in discussions with several parties to further develop and commercialize either an ELISA or other suPAR-based test using ATN-658. The aim is to clinically validate the suPAR-based test in COVID-19 patients.

Supporting Evidence for the Use of suPAR 

The use of suPAR as a test for grading COVID-19 is supported by a growing body of recent studies. In 2020, Rovina et al. demonstrated that patients with elevated levels of suPAR at the time of hospital admission are 17 times more likely to develop severe respiratory failure. In the same year, Arnold et al. showed suPAR to have the best performance in predicting outcomes (such as intensive care unit admission and death) of all the biomarkers examined; and Eugen-Olsen et al. showed that low levels of suPAR are predictive of mild outcome in COVID-19 patients.

Andrew Mazar, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Monopar, stated, “suPAR is emerging as an important biomarker that predicts outcome in diseases characterized by rapid and severe systemic inflammatory responses including COVID-19, certain pneumonias, and sepsis. This suPAR test may enable the early identification of patients who will rapidly deteriorate, and thereby could greatly improve the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”

suPAR is the cleaved, blood-circulating form of the cell-surface anchored protein called urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR).

Monopar recently entered into a collaboration with NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC to develop a precision Radio-Immuno-Therapeutic (RIT) based on the same antibody scaffold that is used in the prototype ELISA to detect suPAR.

NorthStar collaboration aims to develop a uPAR-targeted RIT (uPRIT) to selectively target and eradicate the aberrantly activated (“rogue”) immune cells that cause the cytokine storm and subsequent severe respiratory failure and death in COVID-19 patients. These rogue immune cells seem to be making uPAR and shedding it into the blood as suPAR. Fortunately, uPAR is a protein that is not found much, if at all, on normal healthy tissue, so there is an opportunity to potentially use a uPRIT to quickly shut down the cytokine storm by selectively killing the rogue immune cells while sparing healthy cells.

Chandler Robinson, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Monopar, said,“If successful, the suPAR test could serve as a companion diagnostic to Monopar’s uPRIT. Specifically, the test could identify those patients who are most appropriate for the potential uPRIT treatment.”

About Monopar Therapeutics Inc.

Monopar Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on developing proprietary therapeutics designed to extend life or improve the quality of life for cancer patients. Monopar’s pipeline consists of Validive® for the prevention of chemoradiotherapy-induced severe oral mucositis in oropharyngeal cancer patients, camsirubicin for advanced soft tissue sarcoma and a late-stage preclinical antibody, MNPR-101, for advanced cancers and severe COVID-19. 

Prohost Observations 

A test that predicts the severity of a disease in a human being is a great idea that has the potential to make a big difference if it succeeds. We will go over the firm’s pipeline to see what else it has to offer the clinic toward improving on the diagnostics and treatments’ current practices.  

The Stock 

Symbol MNPR
Market Cap. $66.78 million
52-Week High $48
52-Week Low $4.04

 

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