The Immuron Ltd (ASX: IMC) share price is a strong performer on the ASX today. This follows the biotechnology company’s update on the anti-viral activity of its drug candidate, IMM124E.
At the time of writing, Immuron shares are swapping hands for 18.5 cents, up 8.8%
What did Immuron announce?
Investors are buying up Immuron shares after the company provided a positive result on its SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) program.
According to its release, Immuron advised that Monash University scientists have conducted two tests using IMM124E against SARS-CoV-2. The immunologically-based assays were developed with two recombinant reagents, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and a receptor protein. The latter was obtained from Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Initial findings indicate that IMM124E neutralises activity in which the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not bind with the spike protein or receptor. Essentially, this means that when the virus comes into contact with IMM124E, it cannot latch and infect cells.
Pleasingly, the research team will now look into identifying the inhibitory molecule in IMM124E which causes the reaction.
Deputy director of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Professor Lyras commented:
Our initial results suggest the inhibitory substance/s in the products are binding to other antigens present on the SARS-CoV-2 virus which interfere with the mechanism the virus uses to gain entry and infect human cells. We do not yet know which compound/s in the products are responsible for this interference. However, we are excited to try and identify them.
He went on to say, “it does not matter whether antagonists to the SARS-CoV-2 virus block the binding of the spike protein directly or indirectly as long as they can prevent or reduce infection”
In addition to the encouraging announcement, Immuron will appoint Dr Dan Peres as its chief medical officer. Dr Peres will oversee the company’s clinical development programs, predominately focusing on COVID-19.
Immuron share price snapshot
Since the beginning of the year, Immuron shares have recorded a loss of almost 20%, despite clinical progress. Over the last 12 months, however, the company’s shares have soared to register a gain of more than 110%.
Immuron has a market capitalisation of roughly $42 million, with approximately 227 million shares on issue.