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Moleculin Biotech: Second Lab Testing Confirms WP1122 Antiviral Activity Against Coronavirus

Moleculin Biotech, Inc., (MBRX), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company, said Tuesday that a second round of independent laboratory testing has confirmed the antiviral activity of its drug candidate WP1122, against coronavirus.

Moleculin Biotech said it entered into a contract with IIT Research Institute or IITRI for additional in vitro testing of WP1122, in development as a possible treatment for COVID-19. IIT Research Institute is an affiliate of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The testing involved a cell viability assay in the VERO E6 cell line infected with SARS-CoV-2 and compared the therapeutic effects of 2-DG, the active ingredient in WP1122, alone with those of WP1122, a 2-DG prodrug.

Moleculin noted that importantly, the growth medium in this assay was carefully chosen to reflect the levels of glucose normally found in humans rather than the artificially high levels of glucose often used to accelerate in vitro testing.

"Having validation in yet another virus host cell line provides additional confidence in the antiviral activity we are seeing. Also, using a different independent lab from the last testing that was done provides further validation," said Walter Klemp, Chairman and CEO of Moleculin.

Based on feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said it believes it may need to demonstrate activity in a COVID-19 animal model to successfully submit a request for Investigational New Drug or IND status for WP1122.

In addition, Moleculin has contracted with IITRI to conduct preclinical toxicology testing, which is currently under way.

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