Aptamers are small RNA/DNA molecules capable of specifically binding proteins or other cellular targets. Altermune's Alphamer Technology is based on these molecules and Centauri has acquired the full rights for an undisclosed fee.
“Alphamers are chemically synthesised molecules that, when administered to patients, are designed to bind specifically to the pathogen throughout the body. Once bound, the alphamer is recognised by our immune system instantly as ‘foreign’” a spokesperson from Centauri told in-Pharmatechnologist.
“This is achieved because one part of the alphamer molecule is a sugar that the body recognises as foreign and for which everyone - young or old, male or female - already has a very strong immune response to.”
Targeting antibiotic resistance
Furthermore, we were told, the technology is being used to specifically design alphamers for treating pathogens where anti-microbial resistant (AMR) is an increasing risk, since standard antibiotic approaches are no longer effective.
The alphamers are designed to recognise different pathogens in what Centauri describes as 'chemically programmed immunity.' It also produces therapies designed to be pathogen-specific, which do not upset the natural gut flora in a patient, offering up an advantage over antibiotics.
“We are talking to Pharma about our technology and there is interest on novel approaches - such as ours - to tackle AMR.”
The biotech - based at the former Pfizer research site in Sandwich, Kent – has also secured the first tranche of a £3m ($4.3m) financing which it intends to use to develop its first lead alphamers against AMR.