Targeting the Innate Immune System to Neutralize the Cytokine Storm in Severe COVID-19


A clinical-stage immunology company has an investigational therapy looking to target the tumor necrosis factor cytokine.

One of the ongoing bigger concerns for hospitalist clinicians when treating patients with severe COVID-19 is having them avoid or minimize the cytokine storm. Patients experiencing this can see their conditions worsen and can lead to greater complications and possibly death.

La Jolla-Calif.,-based INmune Bio is a clinical-stage immunology company, which has been developing a treatment platform aimed at targeting tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

“There is compelling evidence that TNF plays an outsized role in the pathology caused by the cytokine storm,” RJ Tesi, MD, CEO of INmune Bio, said.

The company announced on September 1 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application to initiate a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating its investigational therapy, Quellor, a selective soluble tumor necrosis factor (sTNF) inhibitor, for the treatment of immune mediated complications in COVID-19 patients.

“We can now move to the clinic to determine if neutralizing soluble TNF, the master cytokine of the cytokine storm, will blunt the effects of this dysregulated innate immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus without immunosuppressing the patient,” Tesi stated.

Tesi spoke to Contagion® on why they are targeting the innate immune system, about the mechanism of action for Quellor, and their plans for the phase 2 trial with the therapy.

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