Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp (NASDAQ:TNXP) and Columbia University entered a research partnership and option agreement to study COVID-19 immune responses in healthy volunteers who were asymptomatic or recovered from the virus.
Research to focus on T-Cell and antibody responses to COVID-19
This research collaboration will be focusing on T-cell as well as antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 at the cellular level and also human monoclonal anti-idiotypes and antibodies. It is expected that the research will fill in significant gaps in the understanding of the immune responses to COVID-19 and also offer a foundation on which therapeutics and vaccines will be targeting appropriate individuals through precision medicine.
The principal research investigators will be Associate Research Scientist, Ilya Trakht, and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physician’s Assistant Professor of Medicine, Sergei Rudchenko. Dr. Trakht, will study antibody responses and T-cells in vitro T-cells stimulation at the cellular level with CoV-2 antigens and the generation of human monoclonal antibodies against the virus.
On the other hand, Dr. Ridchenko’s study will create a DNA aptamer-based anti-idiotypes to specific monoclonal antibodies that Dr. Trakht will identify. The aptamers can identify biomarkers for CoV-2 immunity and could lead to enhanced precision medicine driven therapies and vaccines to protect against the coronavirus.
Research to help determine vaccines ideal for individuals
Tonix Pharmaceuticals CEO and President Seth Lederman indicated that the FDA’s expectation will approve several COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore the challenge for research in the future is determining which the ideal vaccine is for a specific individual. Lederman added that data from the collaboration study will offer tools and a roadmap to guide such recommendations, possibly. It might also act as a guide for selecting the ideal individuals for vaccine trials such as the company’s TNX-1800.
TNX-180 is based on a replicating vector platform that has been designed to offer durable T-cell immunity. Lederman stated that new vaccines designed could be tailored for individuals through precision medicine.