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Phylogica penetrates cell wall

ASX listed biotech Phylogica has racked up another major milestone with the company proving its ability to deliver “Cre” - an enzyme routinely used in biological research – into lung, liver and kidney cells during animal experiments.

The new tests appear to validate the ability of the company’s original cell penetrating peptide or “CPP”, to deliver intracellular drug cargos directly inside a diseased cell.

They were conducted on 24 mice.

In an update to the ASX this week, Phylogica said this was an important milestone as Cre is the largest cargo that it has managed to penetrate a cell wall with to date, expanding the range of cargoes that its CPP delivery platform can be applied to.

The company said that successful delivery of Cre into the nucleus of cells, which is marked by colour change in the cells, demonstrates that CPP has delivered the cargo not just across the cell membrane but also across the nuclear membrane.

According to Phylogica this shows that its CPPs can reach different sub-cellular destinations.

In addition, the company said that successful delivery of Cre into multiple tissue types demonstrates the potential for CPP to help fight different diseases by delivering drug cargoes into different tissue and cell types.

Phylogica is now preparing to test its current lead CPP that is about twice as effective as the original CPP in the same animal model.

It has also started the development of new CPP-delivered drugs and the progression of these into the clinic.

Last week, Phylogica said its peptide vaccine had successfully generated an immune response capable of recognising and killing a diseased target cell during animal testing.

In the most recent in vivo experiments, mice treated with the company’s CPPs joined to a common antigen from the Herpes Simplex Virus produced the greatest expansion in CD8+ T cells across all groups of treated mice, soundly beating the “gold standard” CPP known as ‘TAT’.

A complementary experiment also indicated that the CD8+ T-cells stimulated by Phylogica’s CPP-antigen vaccination approach were able to recognise and kill the target cells which expressed the HSV antigen with a high degree of efficiency.

Interest in CPPs for intracellular drug delivery has increased recently with U.S biopharmaceutical Sarepta Therapeutics saying that it was making a larger investment in CPP conjugates than just about anything else.

ResearchAndMarkets.com has estimated the global peptide therapeutics market could be worth more than $25bn in 2018.

The recent successes place Phylogica in a strong position to tap into this burgeoning market.

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