New preclinical data indicating broadened potential for Bemcentinib to treat severe respiratory infections

05 March 2024

BerGenBio ASA (OSE: BGBIO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, selective AXL kinase inhibitors for severe unmet medical needs, today announced that Dr. Mirella Spalluto of the University of Southampton today presented “Investigating the effects of AXL inhibition during respiratory viral infections” during the 6th Forum on Respiratory Infections in Glasgow, Scotland.

The data presented by Dr. Spalluto showed bemcentinib had activity in human in vitro models of infection caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), influenza and rhinovirus. In these models, bemcentinib downregulated IL-6 and IL-8, two important inflammatory cytokines associated with the severity of hospitalized respiratory infections.

Clinically, patients with viral respiratory infections can develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a life-threatening condition. In ARDS patients, cytokines – a type of inflammatory protein – are released bringing neutrophils to the lung to fight infection. These proteins, however, can leak into blood vessels, traveling through the body resulting in inflammation of other organs which may lead to organ failure.

Cristina Oliva, MD, Chief Medical Officer at BerGenBio commented on the relevance of these new data: “The findings of cytokine down-regulation in preclinical models align with samples from patients treated with bemcentinib in previous clinical studies of hospitalized COVID-19. These data indicate that bemcentinib may be a helpful addition to supportive care in patients with ARDS resulting from a variety of common viral infections. The need for new therapeutics in this patient population is acute, with the morality rate from viral ARDS estimated at between 27-45%. We look forward to conducting additional preclinical evaluation of bemcentinib’s activity in severe respiratory infections to further bolster our understanding in this important area.”