The complement system is a vital pathway acting within the immune system. It recognizes and destroys foreign invaders and protects the body’s own cells with a special component, factor H. Insufficient amounts of factor H lead to excessive inflammation and risk of tissue damage.
Emerging evidence suggests that the lung tissue decay observed in severe cases of Covid-19 could be caused by this unregulated inflammation. Current means to inhibit this process rely on artificial antibodies that block the pathway altogether, stopping the inactivation of pathogens and causing a significant risk of infection. Conversely, supplemented factor H allows for regulated defence while preserving the integrity of the host cells.
"Unlocking novel therapies is our mission. This path deserves to be explored and may lead to effective treatment of Covid-19." Dr. Andreas Schaaf, CEO of Eleva
Eleva has previously developed recombinant factor H for a different indication, glomerulopathy in kidneys, and taken it through pre-clinical stages. Studies have indicated a significant reduction in tissue damage when factor H was supplemented; factor H proved able to reduce inflammation. Eleva is now looking to accelerate the Covid-19-specific evaluation with a suitable pharmaceutical partner.
About the complement system and Factor H
The human immune defence is divided into two strands: the adaptive system with antibodies and the innate complement system. The complement system consists of a group of proteins that recognize viral and bacterial patterns, trigger inflammation, and break up the pathogens. Factor H ensures that the system only attacks foreign cells by binding to host cells and regulates the main inflammation component, C3a.
Genetically derived lack of factor H dials up the amount of C3a, leading to immoderate inflammation and consequently tissue damage. A surplus of factor H, on the other hand, reduces the amount of C3a. Complement-associated diseases comprise kidney diseases and dry AMD.
Based in Freiburg, Germany, Eleva develops novel biological therapies with its pharmaceutical partners. The privately-held company leverages its unique moss-based production platform to produce supreme biologics like antibodies, replacement enzymes, or fusion toxins. Eleva has successfully developed drug candidates into clinical phases.
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