Israeli Startup Elicio Therapeutics Fights Covid-19 With Immunotherapy


Elicio Therapeutics, an Israeli startup, has made advancements in its next generation immunotherapy technology which could help with the war on Covid-19. The company published results of preclinical studies of ELI-005, a protein subunit vaccine for COVID-19. The medical and scientific aspects of this new development are hard for anyone who is neither a scientist nor a doctor to understand. The short of it is that the company has found a way to have the Corona Virus antibodies last in the body for a long term, instead of the short lived nature which they now have.

Immunotherapy is a treatment in which the body’s own immune system is used to fight cancer and can be applied to other diseases as well.

This new therapy is related to the T cell. T cells are a part of the body’s immune system and are produced in the bone marrow. They can regulate immune responses as well as attack infected or cancerous cells.

We have all heard the news about how the Corona Virus can still be carried by people who were infected and either recovered or never got sick. This is because, while their bodies’ immune systems developed anti-bodies which fought off Covid-19, these anti-bodies do not exist indefinitely in the human body. This means that an immune person can still be re-infected and, therefore, infect others even when asymptomatic.

This is why such a medical breakthrough is so important when it comes to stopping the spread of Covid-19.

The study showed that the ELI-005 vaccination given at two-week intervals led to parallel responses balanced across both antibody and T cell mechanisms. Multifunctional CD4+ and CD8+ T cells reached the lung and were secreted into the respiratory fluid that provides the first line of defense against COVID-19. Since up to 10-fold dose-reduction of the COVID-19 protein component of ELI-005 maintained the immune response, correspondingly lower manufacturing effort would be needed to provide vaccine access for widespread application.
In other words, a vaccine could be made.

“Low T cell responses are a major challenge for COVID-19 vaccine development, and antibody response to natural infection is short-lived,” said Christopher Haqq, M.D., Ph.D., Elicio’s Executive Vice President, Head of Research and Development, and Chief Medical Officer. “We are excited to report that ELI-005 gave potent T cell responses alongside antibody induction 265-fold higher than in recovering COVID-19 patients. The completed GMP manufacturing and toxicology studies for ELI-004 in Elicio’s ELI-002 vaccine for KRAS driven cancers should facilitate rapid clinical translation for ELI-005.”

“Ten-fold reduction in the amount of COVID-19 antigen required for the ELI-005 vaccine may help efforts to deploy vaccination broadly,“ said Peter DeMuth, Ph.D., Elicio’s Founding Scientist and Vice President of Research. “The responses observed in aged mice are also compelling because they suggest the possibility to protect the elderly, particularly nursing home residents who suffer disproportionately from COVID-19.”

Elicio Therapeutics is advancing the Amphiphile technology across immunotherapy platforms to defeat cancers and infectious diseases. By combining expertise in materials science, immunology, and immuno-oncology, Elicio is engineering potent Amphiphile immunotherapies that precisely target and fully engage the lymph nodes, the site in our bodies where the immune response is orchestrated. Elicio is engineering lymph node targeted cell therapy activators, immunomodulators, adjuvants and vaccines for an array of aggressive cancers and infectious diseases. Elicio’s lead Amphiphile vaccine targeting KRAS-driven cancers will begin initial patient studies in solid tumor patients in 2020. The Amphiphile platform emerged from laboratories of Darrell Irvine, Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

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