Memo Therapeutics has commenced a Phase I clinical trial to assess its therapeutic antibody candidate MTX-005 in healthy adult subjects to potentially treat BK polyomavirus (BKV) infection in renal transplant patients. 

MTX-005 was detected while screening several BKV-infected kidney transplant patients to identify those few who had an eradicating antibody response against the virus. 

It was chosen from thousands of BKV-specific antibodies as it fully neutralises all BKV strains at very low dosages.

The placebo-controlled, single-blind, partially randomised trial will analyse the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of single and multiple ascending intravenous doses of MTX-005 in up to 56 healthy adult subjects.

The company anticipates reporting findings from the trial of the antibody candidate in the first half of next year.

Memo Therapeutics chief medical officer Dr Jürgen Beck said: “MTX-005 could be a game-changer for patients who are currently seriously underserved. 

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“The antibody possesses a 100x more potent neutralisation capacity than benchmark antibodies and we are encouraged by the feedback by key opinion leaders, which has been overwhelmingly positive.” 

BKV infection presents a substantial threat to kidney transplantation. 

Usually dormant, the immunosuppression required for transplant survival can lead to BKV reactivation in 40-50% of kidney transplant recipients. 

Up to 10% of such cases can advance to BKV linked nephropathy, posing a major threat to the transplant. 

Except for reducing immunosuppression, there exists no disease-modifying therapy at present. 

The Switzerland-based firm focuses on the discovery of antibodies and immune repertoire assessment. 

Leveraging microfluidic single-cell molecular cloning and screening technologies, its discovery platform facilitates antibody repertoire mining and discovery.

Memo’s existing pipeline comprises programmes in infectious diseases and immuno-oncology.