A prototype enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measuring blood suPAR levels using ATN-658 has been developed, and Monopar is currently in discussions with several parties to further develop and commercialize either an ELISA or other suPAR-based test using ATN-658. The aim is to clinically validate the suPAR-based test in Covid-19 patients
Monopar Therapeutics announced its plan to develop a test to potentially triage COVID-19 patients into those likely versus unlikely to progress to severe respiratory failure.
The test would use Monopar’s proprietary monoclonal antibody, ATN-658, to detect soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) in COVID-19 patient plasma.
A suPAR test for COVID-19 patients, if successful, could identify those at high risk for severe respiratory failure, facilitating earlier therapeutic interventions or allowing for the staging of patients to an optimal treatment based on their disease characteristics.
A prototype enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measuring blood suPAR levels using ATN-658 has been developed, and Monopar is currently in discussions with several parties to further develop and commercialize either an ELISA or other suPAR-based test using ATN-658. The aim is to clinically validate the suPAR-based test in COVID-19 patients.
The use of suPAR for triaging COVID-19 patients is supported by a growing body of recent studies. Rovina et al. 2020 showed that patients with elevated levels of suPAR at the time of hospital admission are 17 times more likely to develop severe respiratory failure (p=.0000000012). Arnold et al. 2020 showed suPAR to have the best performance in predicting outcome (such as intensive care unit admission and death) of all the biomarkers examined; and Eugen-Olsen et al. 2020 showed that low levels of suPAR are predictive of mild outcome in COVID-19 patients.
“suPAR is emerging as an important biomarker that predicts outcome in diseases characterized by rapid and severe systemic inflammatory responses including COVID-19, certain pneumonias, and sepsis,” said Andrew Mazar, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Monopar. “This suPAR test may enable the early identification of patients who will rapidly deteriorate, and thereby could greatly improve the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”
suPAR is the cleaved, blood-circulating form of the cell-surface anchored protein called urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). Monopar recently entered into a collaboration with NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC to develop a precision Radio-Immuno-Therapeutic (RIT) based on the same antibody scaffold that is used in the prototype ELISA to detect suPAR.
The aim of the NorthStar collaboration is to develop a uPAR-targeted RIT (uPRIT) to selectively target and eradicate the aberrantly activated (“rogue”) immune cells that cause the cytokine storm and subsequent severe respiratory failure and death in COVID-19 patients. These rogue immune cells seem to be making uPAR and shedding it into the blood as suPAR. Fortunately, uPAR is a protein that is not found much, if at all, on normal healthy tissue, so there is an opportunity to potentially use a uPRIT to quickly shut down the cytokine storm by selectively killing the rogue immune cells while sparing healthy cells.
“If successful, the suPAR test could serve as a companion diagnostic to Monopar’s uPRIT. Specifically, the test could identify those patients who are most appropriate for the potential uPRIT treatment,” said Chandler Robinson, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Monopar.
Source: Company Press Release