XPhyto Therapeutics Corp (CSE:XPHY) updated investors on Monday with regards to its infectious disease program, particularly as it pertains to combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, XPhyto said its wholly-owned German subsidiary Vektor Pharma TF GmbH, has struck a binding standstill agreement with a European biotechnology company for developing a low-cost, real-time oral pathogen screening platform. The enzyme-based platform was designed for species-specific bacterial pathogen detection in humans and will be expanded to include viral pathogen detection capability. No training is required to operate the test, the company said.
XPhyto, in collaboration with industry and academic partners, aims to develop the platform for oral detection of specific viral species and species subtypes, including coronavirus. The company expects to sign a definitive development agreement in due course.
"An accurate, low-cost, rapid decentralized screening test that provides immediate pathogen detection would be a powerful and disruptive tool in the fight against the pandemics. Such a tool would allow for testing on a scale that is not currently possible," said Dr Thomas Beckert, managing director of Vektor Pharma.
Beckert explained that “identification and isolation” of infected individuals, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, from the larger populations is “critical" to combating the coronavirus outbreak.
“The potential applications for an effective screening test would include homes, hospitals, schools, workplaces, transportation services and border services, just to name a few,” he added.
In line with the company's expertise in the field of infectious disease, XPhyto Therapeutics said one of its director Dr Raimar Loebenberg, is reviewing opportunities for prevention and treatment of viral lung infections based on clinically validated and published peer-reviewed data.
During the coronavirus outbreak in 2009, some natural products were clinically evaluated in comparison to modern conventional antiviral treatments. In non-life-threatening cases certain natural treatments yielded remarkable results, said the company. Loebenberg is consulting with hospital pharmacists who are currently using such natural products in the treatment of COVID-19, said the company. XPhyto is actively engaged in licencing certain natural therapies for immediate use in Canada.
Loebenberg is the founder and director of the Drug Development and Innovation Centre, in the University of Alberta, and is a specialist in pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical therapeutics. He has extensive experience in the treatment of infectious and tropical diseases and has particular expertise in the use of phytopharmaceuticals as effective therapeutic agents.
"The XPhyto team and its global healthcare network have deep scientific expertise in the study and treatment of infectious disease," said Hugh Rogers, Xphyto's CEO.
"As a company and as concerned citizens, we are particularly motivated to work on these projects. It is not often that one can participate in the development of truly disruptive technology with a significant near-term positive social impact," he added.
Vancouver-based XPhyto is investigating the use of enzyme-targeted sensor-film technology for the real-time detection of infectious diseases such as coronavirus, with a goal to develop a low-cost, point-of-care, rapid detection test using senor-film technology.
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive