Philippines joins race to make COVID-19 medicine

A Filipino-American led biotechnology company with a global team from the
United States, Europe and the Philippines, has taken new approach towards the development of a COVID-19 treatment.

Tests for the drug called RelivirTM will be held in the Philippines, said Rogelio “Vonz” Santos, Jr., chairman and co-founder of Nucision. Santos is the Philippines’ first US born Filipino-American to receive the TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) Award, the highest honor given to a Filipino citizen.

According to Santos, RelivirTM is the first-of-its kind nanomolecular compound
engineered to specifically “cut” the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and disrupt viral replication.

The RNA or Ribonucleic acid is a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes. A polymer is a large molecule, or macromolecule, composed of repeated linked units, each a relatively light and simple molecule.The RNA and DNA are nucleic acids.

Nucision has taken a different approach in developing RelivirTM to combat COVID-19. The focus of most COVID-19 efforts of the biopharma industry today, which is on
vaccines, antibody treatments or repurposing existing drugs on the market.

However, RelivirTM has a different specific effectivity towards the target virus. Its effectiveness is not directly dependent on eliciting any host-mediated responses, as is seen in the majority of immunologic-based development tracks right now.

Its researchers believe that this treatment method should be safely applicable at various stages of the viral infection.

Conventional methods like vaccines or antibodies are a discovery process—they design the vaccine in hopes to discover the right combination of components or antigens to elicit an effective response.

However, Nucision’s therapeutic approach is based less on discovery and more on active invention.

Santos said, “Beyond a targeted therapeutic for COVID-19, what we have created is a platform. This means that we will be able to rapidly react to new or mutated viral targets by ‘reprogramming’ our platform in a process that takes weeks, not months or years.”

Nucision’s unique antiviral framework that combines cell penetrating peptides with customized RNA targeting enzymes originated over two decades ago from research that targeted HIV.

Dr. Stanley Stein co-developed the first Interferon based therapeutic for Hepatitis-C.
Stein is also the chairman and CEO of Amylex Biotechnology Corp. that accomplished the first FDA Commercial Approval in the Philippines for a synthetic nano-molecular medical treatment called BETACLEARTM.

BETACLEARTM is part of a treatment model that rapidly reduces beta-amyloid levels in the body which has long been the primary target to address Alzheimer’s Disease.

With this background, Nucision followed an aggressive development path in its anti-COVID-19 treatment. The company already initiated compound manufacturing in preparation for animal studies and product development activities.

Nucision has already engaged in communications with Philippine agencies connected to the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force for COVID). It plans to begin human clinical trials for RelivirTM by early next year.

According to Santos, “This unprecedented time requires creative solutions and bold leadership. The world will emerge transformed. I am proud to work with a talented and dedicated team from across the globe that, despite these challenging times, is giving their all to find a solution.”

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