McMaster research team discovers new mechanism of action for PGX-YBG

PGX-YBG demonstrates its ability to reprogram macrophages on its own

PGX-YBG may be an appropriate therapeutic solution for patients with pulmonary fibrosis and patients with advanced COVID-19

EDMONTON, Alberta, November 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Ceapro inc. (TSX-V: CZO; OTCQX: CRPOF) (“Ceapro” or the “Company”), a growing biotech company focused on the development and commercialization of active ingredients for the healthcare and cosmetic industries, today provided an update on its ongoing collaboration with McMaster University to develop an inhalable drug for COVID-19 that could also be used – COVID-19 conditions.

The project, entitled “Yeast beta-glucans treated with PGX as an inhalable immunomodulatory therapy for COVID-19 patients, Jointly funded by Mitacs and Ceapro, is being conducted under the direction of Dr. Kjetil Ask, an expert in pulmonary fibrosis, and Dr. Todd Hoare from the Departments of Medicine and Chemical Engineering, respectively, at McMaster University.

This project was launched in August 2019 when researchers at McMaster University and Ceapro were reviewing preliminary data collected as part of a collaborative research program one of the goals of which was to develop delivery systems for optimize drug formulations used for chronic diseases such as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). While yeast beta-glucan appeared to be a promising compound, researchers believed that the ideal formulation for treating fibrotic lung disorders would be to develop an inhalable complex produced by loading a drug onto PGX-treated yeast beta-glucan (PGX -YBG). As a result of preliminary experiments with PGX-YBG alone and / or in combination with a drug, they realized that PGX-YBG could be much more than a vector and that it could be used as an active component in a new antifibrosis treatment for the most serious lung diseases, including COVID-19 patients.

“We have shown that the PGX technology can convert materials that cannot be easily inhaled, in particular a YBG-based particle that has inherent immunomodulatory properties, into materials that can easily access the lungs,” commented Dr. Hoare. . “By combining this property with the very high internal surface area of ​​the PGX-treated microparticles which enables drug loading at high concentration using Ceapro’s supercritical drug impregnation process, we are very excited about the potential of this technology for the treatment of lung disease, potentially including advanced COVID-19. “

The team successfully demonstrated that Ceapro’s PGX technology can produce low density, highly porous and purified YBG microparticles with a small and uniform size distribution. These unique particles were found to have improved aerodynamic properties, allowing them to be inhaled and deposited in the deep lungs where fibrous development occurs.

At the heart of this project is fibrosis: the unregulated and excessive production of scar tissue in organs. Key immune cells called macrophages apparently play a crucial role in the maintenance and progression of the fibrotic state. The “M1” macrophages express pro-inflammatory properties and the “M2” macrophages express the completely opposite anti-inflammatory properties. During fibrosis, type M2 macrophages persist in the fibrotic lung and secrete cytokines (cell signaling molecules) that stimulate the cells around them to continuously produce and deposit scar tissue in the deep lung. These recent findings indicate that PGX-YBG, which specifically binds to Dectin-1 receptors on the surface of macrophages, can repolarize or “reprogram” M2-type macrophages to M1-type macrophages, thereby ending tissue deposition (fibrosis). ) and initiating the essential elimination of excess tissue.

” We showed, in vitro, that PGX-YBGs have the ability to prevent the activation of macrophages to a pro-fibrotic phenotype. In addition, treatment with PGX-YBG of macrophages which have already acquired a pro-fibrotic phenotype results in reprogramming of the macrophages to a classical phenotype not known to be pro-fibrotic. Using cells from animals lacking the Dectin-1 beta-glucan receptor, we have shown that it depends on the presence of the Dectin-1 receptor. These findings are very interesting because reprogramming of macrophages is considered a viable therapeutic strategy against fibrotic disease and PGX-YBG appears to have this ability. In vivo, we have shown that PGX-YBG can be safely administered to mice, and preliminary data show an ability to prevent fibrogenesis in an experimental model of pulmonary fibrosis. We look forward to validating these in vivo discoveries over the next few months, ”said Dr. Ask.

To advance this promising technology in human clinical trials, the Company strives to ensure that the delivery of PGX-YBG to the lungs is optimized. It will also be important to further validate the performance of PGX-YBG in reducing pulmonary fibrosis, both alone and loaded with an anti-inflammatory drug currently used for pulmonary fibrosis and COVID-19 therapy. The potential impact of this project is considerable as one of the most common and deadly fibrotic diseases is IPF for which there is no cure and a short survival rate (3-5 years). It was also recently shown that pulmonary fibrosis can occur and persist for months in some COVID-19 patients, suggesting that COVID-19 survivors may suffer from complications of post-infection pulmonary fibrosis.

“We are very satisfied with the progress made in this research project. In view of these recent and exciting findings, we believe it certainly becomes necessary to conduct additional animal studies before initiating human trials to develop the best possible tool in the fight against pulmonary fibrotic diseases, including COVID-19. and post COVID-19 complications, ”commented Gilles Gagnon. , M.Sc., MBA, President and CEO of Ceapro. “We are grateful for the collaborative work with the McMaster University team and look forward to further development. “

About Ceapro inc.

Ceapro Inc. is a Canadian biotechnology company involved in the development of proprietary extraction technology and the application of this technology to the production of extracts and “active ingredients” from oats and others. renewable plant resources. Ceapro adds additional value to its extracts by supporting their use in cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals and therapeutics for humans and animals. The Company has extensive expertise in natural product chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology and process engineering. These skills come together in the fields of active ingredients, biopharmaceuticals and drug delivery solutions. For more information about Ceapro, please visit the company’s website at www.ceapro.com.

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