WILMETTE, Ill., BELOIT, Wis. and TYLER, Texas, Sept. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Monopar Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:MNPR) and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC, which are jointly developing urokinase plasminogen activator receptor targeted radio-immuno-therapeutics (uPRITs) for the potential treatment of patients with severe COVID-19, today announced a collaboration with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) and its Texas Lung Injury Institute (TLII). UTHSCT is planning to perform in vitro and in vivo studies through the TLII and participate in the clinical development of uPRITs for the treatment of severe COVID-19 through its medical center.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has taken a leading role in the fight against COVID-19. UTHSCT was recently awarded a $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to investigate the potential use of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to prevent worsening lung symptoms, or death, in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Enrollment for this study has already started. UTHSCT is also home to one of the leading laboratories in the world studying the role of urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) in acute lung injury and respiratory distress, led by renowned pulmonologist Steven Idell, MD, PhD.
"Given their expertise in uPAR, acute lung injury, as well as the treatment of COVID-19 patients, UTHSCT and Dr. Steven Idell are the ideal partners for the preclinical and clinical development of uPRITs for severe COVID-19," said Andrew Mazar, PhD, chief scientific officer of Monopar.
"Dr. Idell and UTHSCT have extensive experience with cell-based and animal models of respiratory distress, along with COVID-19 clinical trials. These resources and experiences should help accelerate the development of uPRITs," said James T. Harvey, PhD, senior vice president and chief science officer of NorthStar.
"We are excited to be working with Monopar and NorthStar on developing a uPRIT, an innovative and clinically promising treatment for severe COVID-19 patients," said Dr. Steven Idell, senior vice president for research and dean of the School of Medical Biological Sciences at UTHSCT.
The aim of this partnership is to evaluate uPRIT candidates in in vitro and in vivo models to facilitate the selection and IND-enabling development of a clinical candidate that could then move into first-in-human trials in patients with severe COVID-19 at UTHSCT.