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GeneOne and Wistar Institute Collaborate to Develop Small Molecule Therapeutics to Protect Humans from Nipah Virus

PHILADELPHIA — (May 10, 2023) — GeneOne Life Science, Inc.(“GeneOne” KOSPI: 011000), a leading biopharmaceutical company specializing in developing nucleic-acid based treatments and novel small-molecule therapeutics, and The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology, infectious disease, and vaccine development, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announce a collaboration to identify novel small molecules capable of inhibiting Nipah virus entry into cells and to develop these into preclinical leads for future advancement into global Phase I clinical trials for the treatment and/or post-exposure prophylaxis of Nipah virus infection.

This program anchored at The Wistar Institute is under the direction of Dr. Luis J. Montaner, Kean Family Professor, director of Wistar’s HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory and leader of the HIV Research Program, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center. Montaner’s team has extensive experience in developing small molecule therapies against infectious diseases including HIV and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Drug screening and small molecule design will be conducted by Dr. Joseph Salvino, professor in Wistar’s Molecular & Cellular Oncogenesis Program, scientific director of Wistar’s Molecular Screening & Protein Expression Facility, and an industry trained medicinal chemist.

Nipah virus is a zoonotic RNA virus of the genus Henipavirus, that first appeared on farms in Malaysia and Singapore in humans and pigs. Animals or humans exposed to bodily fluids from infected bats, the animal reservoir of Nipah virus, are susceptible to infection. Since 1999, Nipah outbreaks have occurred in other countries of Southeast Asia. Outbreaks of Nipah disease have occurred most frequently in Bangladesh and India since 1999 and have been associated with severe neurological disease as well as high mortality (40-70% death rate). Due to its epidemic potential and insufficient countermeasures against it, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified Nipah virus as a high priority pathogen for research and development.

“It is an important step for global health that GeneOne and The Wistar Institute are joining forces to develop novel therapies against Nipah virus as a recognized high priority pathogen with future pandemic potential,” said Dr. Montaner.

While there are no approved vaccines or drugs to combat Nipah virus, GeneOne’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Kar Muthumani and colleagues recently demonstrated that a synthetic nucleic acid vaccine they developed could result in an effective anti-Nipah virus cellular and humoral immune response in mice.

Dr. Muthumani said, “We are excited about the immunogenicity of our Nipah vaccine, and now we are pleased to collaborate with The Wistar Institute to develop new small molecule inhibitors to add to our portfolio of countermeasures against Nipah infection. GeneOne has always been an innovator and leader in designing synthetic nucleic acid vaccines against emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and we expect collaborations such as this to help us add new therapeutics to our portfolio that can be used alone or paired with our vaccines to create stronger countermeasures against EIDs.”

Young K. Park, Chief Executive Officer of GeneOne commented that “In addition to vaccines, there is a critical need for drugs and other therapies that block virus transmission from animals-to-humans and even humans-to-humans. While the goal of this project is to develop drugs that block Nipah virus infection, the methods and tools employed and developed here carry great future potential in creating new drugs against other emerging zoonotic diseases that threaten global health. Moreover, since Nipah virus is a deadly pathogen for which there is currently no vaccine or treatment, GeneOne is eager to contribute our R&D expertise to this collaboration for the health of global citizens.”


About GeneOne Life Science Inc.
GeneOne Life Science Inc., headquartered in Seoul, South Korea is an international biotechnology company driven by creativity and innovation and focused on developing nucleic acid encoded vaccines against infectious diseases to address global needs. Its small molecule portfolio of immunomodulators address diseases such as prevention of upper respiratory bacterial and viral diseases, and treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

VGXI, Inc., GeneOne’s wholly-owned subsidiary located in Texas, is the global leading contract developer and manufacturer (CDMO) for cGMP DNA plasmid manufacture. The company is the leading contract manufacturer of DNA plasmids for use in vaccines, gene therapies, and cell therapies. VGXI has recently expanded into the manufacture and development of mRNA.

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About the Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute, the first independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation. Wistar scientists are focused on solving some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, infectious disease, and immunology. Wistar has been producing groundbreaking advances in world health for more than a century. Consistent with its legacy of leadership in biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists’ early-stage discoveries shorten the path from bench to bedside.

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Jackie Kwon

The Wistar Institute
Darien Sutton
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