Applied Biology, Brown University Collaborate on COVID-19 Drug Discovery Platform

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The drug discovery platform was developed to rapidly predict blocking of COVID-19 pneumocyte cellular entry.

On April 6, 2020, Applied Biology, an Irvine, CA-based biotechnology company specializing in hair and skin science, announced the development of a drug discovery platform that can help identify drugs to treat COVID-19. The platform was developed though a research collaboration with Brown University.

According to the study, published on April 1, 2020 in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, the androgen receptor may be implicated in COVID-19 mortality risk and therefore, human type-II pneumocytes androgen sensitivity should be tested as a potential treatment marker. 

The team was led by Carlos G. Wambier, MD, PhD, director of Cosmetic Research at the Department of Dermatology of the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Andy Goren, MD, chief medical officer at Applied Biology and medical advisor to the Department of Dermatology of the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, along with a team of collaborators from other institutions.

"We believe that androgens are required for the expression of the serine protease TMPRSS2. This proteolytic priming of spikes of the coronavirus is the first step required for binding to the ACE2 receptor in cells,” Wambier said in a press release. “Male hormones might also affect ACE2 receptor expression in lung cells. To the best of our knowledge these are required for the novel coronavirus to infect humans." 


"Testing androgen sensitivity along with ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression provides a rapid method to assess the effectiveness of drug candidates in inhibiting the cellular entry of COVID-19,” Goren added in the release.

Source: Applied Biology