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Memo Therapeutics initiates pioneering BK virus therapy trial

Antibody addresses a high unmet medical needs in the rapidly growing kidney transplant market

Memo Therapeutics has announced the initiation of a clinical study targeting BK polyomavirus (BKV) infection in renal transplant patients.

Phase 1, a single-blind, partially randomised and placebo-controlled study will assess the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of MTX-005. The intravenous doses will be administered among up to 56 healthy adult volunteers.

MTX-005 is a therapeutic antibody candidate that was identified through the screening of kidney transplant patients infected with BKV. The aim was to identify those few with eradicating antibody response against the virus. Selected from thousands of BKV-specific antibodies, MTX-005 completely neutralises all strains of BKV at extremely low concentrations.

Currently, the infection poses a significant threat in kidney transplantation – normally dormant, the immunosuppression needed for transplant survival can trigger reactivation of BKV in 40-50% of kidney transplant recipients.

Meanwhile, up to 10% of these cases can progress to BKV associated nephropathy. There is currently no disease-modifying therapy available except for the lowering of immunosuppression which significantly increases the risk of a graft rejection reaction, leading to impaired functionality and longevity.

Dr Jürgen Beck, chief medical officer at Memo Therapeutics, is optimistic about the positive impact MTX-005 could make: “MTX-005 could be a game-changer for patients who are currently seriously underserved. 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.”

Memo’s discovery platform uses robust and fast microfluidic single-cell molecular cloning technologies to enable antibody discovery at unprecedented speed.