AIM ImmunoTech Inc (NYSE American: AIM) said Tuesday that it has filed a trio of patent applications for Ampligen in a bid to market its flagship drug as a therapy taking aim at the deadly coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China.
Ampligen has previously been used with success in animals to treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is a sort of sister virus to the Wuhan coronavirus and also originated in China, but in the Guangdong province.
After a 2002 SARS outbreak in Guangdong reported more than 8,000 illnesses and more than 800 deaths, the US National Institutes of Health contracted studies with Ampligen to evaluate its effectiveness as a treatment for SARS. In those studies, Ampligen saw a 100% survival rate – “at clinically achievable human dosage levels” in animal experiments.
“The SARS virus is very similar in key RNA sequences to the Wuhan coronavirus, and the company expects Ampligen to be similarly effective with the Wuhan coronavirus,” Ampligen said.
AIM ImmunoTech believes Ampligen has the potential to be an early-onset treatment for as well as a prophylaxis (a treatment designed to prevent disease) against the Wuhan coronavirus. Its three patent applications include registering Ampligen as a therapy for the Wuhan coronavirus; trying to introduce it as part of a coronavirus vaccine that combines Ampligen with the “inactivated” Wuhan coronavirus; and lastly, attempting to secure a patent for manufacturing Ampligen in big volumes.
“Our analysis of the RNA sequences of the SARS virus and the Wuhan coronavirus and our research lead AIM to believe Ampligen has significant therapeutic potential as both an early-onset treatment and prophylaxis against this new and deadly virus,” said AIM CEO Thomas Equels.
“If clinical trials follow the results of SARS animal testing, this means helping people who are already sick as well as a prophylaxis for people directly exposed to the virus as it spreads, which is especially important for the medical professionals in hospital-like settings working to contain the global emergency, and those people quarantined in camps and on cruise ships,” he added.
Ampligen is a Toll-Like Receptor 3 agonist based on synthetic double-stranded RNA which is also being used in clinical trials to evaluate its effectiveness in taking aim at renal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, colorectal cancer, advanced recurrent ovarian cancer and triple-negative metastatic breast cancer.
AIM has produced more than 10,000 vials of Ampligen and in recent months and roughly $10 million has been raised to support its development.
The company's shares finished 29% higher to close the day at $1.06 on Tuesday.