This week, we’re just outside Berlin in Hennigsdorf to visit Adrenomed, hoping to find out how exactly its antibodies can be used to treat sepsis.
Mission: Adrenomed has already been included in our list of 10 biotechs to watch in Berlin so we’ve been aware of the biotech for a while now. It focuses on developing treatments for sepsis, a condition characterized by an infection overwhelming the immune system to cause organ failure, which is life-threatening.
Adrecizumab is the company’s monoclonal antibody that targets adrenomedullin, a peptide hormone that is expressed by vascular endothelial cells to cause vasodilation. During sepsis, extensive vasodilation causes blood pressure to fall and reduces the perfusion of tissues and organs.
Adrecizumab blocks adrenomedullin to maintain blood pressure and prevent organ failure. So far, the candidate has shown high preclinical efficacy and good safety and tolerability during a Phase I trial. Next, a Phase II study will be carried out to find the best dose to use once the drug reaches Phase III.
Comment: More than 1.5 million people suffer from sepsis each year in the US alone, often following frequent or lengthy spells in hospital. Stats like this make it feel like an entirely preventable disease and the devastation it causes all the more frustrating.
A handful of biotechs are working on approaches to better diagnose and treat the condition. Roche joined forces with the French biotech Inotrem to develop a companion diagnostic test by measuring the levels of a specific protein, while Curetis has produced a speedy diagnostic kit to allow earlier treatment. Last year, TiGenix began testing its stem cell therapy in sepsis patients with pneumonia.
Image – pisaphotography / shutterstock.com