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Translation in Brief

Neoleukin’s ACE2 decoy protects hamsters from SARS-CoV-2; plus a circular RNA linked to diabetes and more

BioCentury’s roundup of translational news

BioCentury’s roundup of translational news.

Nov 7, 2020 | 1:46 AM GMT

Neoleukin’s ACE2 decoy for COVID
Neoleukin Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:NLTX) has reported in Science Translational Medicine that prophylactic administration of NL-CVX1, its lead COVID-19 candidate, protected hamsters from lethal SARS-CoV-2 challenge. The company is determining whether to advance the bivalent ACE2 protein decoy, which had EC50 values below 5 nM in cell-based assays, into the clinic.

Circular RNA promotes insulin release
An article in Nature Communications has implicated in diabetes reduced levels of a circular RNA generation from an insulin gene intron. A University of Lausanne-led group found that pancreatic islets from Type II diabetics had lower levels of the circular RNA than islets from non-diabetics; and showed in normal rat islets that silencing the circular RNA decreased expression of β cell secretory machinery components and impaired insulin release.

Dual-mechanism compound for flu A and B
A bifunctional small molecule synthesized by Purdue University researchers was able to clear influenza type A and type B infections in mice challenged with lethal virus doses; and was more efficacious than neuraminidase inhibitor Relenza zanamivir. The compound, described in Nature Communications, consists of Relenza conjugated to the hapten dinitrophenyl, against which most humans naturally express antibodies, to stimulate antiviral immune responses. Vaxart Inc. (NASDAQ:VXRT) markets Relenza to treat and prevent influenza A and B infection.

ACE2 – Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 

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