Privately-held BioAegis Therapeutics has announced that researchers have identified a previously unknown role of the protein gelsolin in regulating immune responses.
BioAegis’s therapeutic focus is to restore waning gelsolin levels associated with disease.
In a paper published in The Journal of Immunology, researchers reported that the gelsolin is involved in a signaling system in macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell. In particular, the paper found that macrophages exhibit quorum sensing, which involves regulating gene expression based on changes in cell-population density. While scientists have long known about bacterial quorum sensing, they were previously unaware of its role in regulating immune cell inflammatory responses.
The North Brunswick, New Jersey–based company reported that it is inspired by the therapeutic implications of the findings. “There are many layers to the science underlying gelsolin’s role as a master regulator in immunity,” said Dr. Susan Levinson, CEO of BioAegis, in a statement. “The more we learn about this key signaling protein, the more we look forward to bringing rhu-pGSN to patients.”
Gelsolin is a naturally occurring human protein.
BioAegis said that the findings from the Journal of Immunology study are consistent with the anti-inflammatory properties the company has observed relative to its recombinant human plasma gelsolin (rhu-pGSN) treatment.
The company has studied the investigational drug in a variety of animal models focused on inflammatory disease.
BioAegis is also evaluating data from a Phase 2 study related to gelsolin as an adjunct to standard of care in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.
The company has also published a compassionate use case study using gelsolin in a hospitalized patient with critical COVID-19 pneumonia.
In June, the company announced that it won a BARDA contract to support the development of gelsolin for sepsis and severe infection.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery, Immunology, Infectious Disease