The AyuVis Story – From clinical observation to a new generation of immunotherapies
The AyuVis story begins with clinicians in India and other countries observing that patients infected by filarial parasites were resistant to bacterial and fungal infection. Investigation of this phenomenon determined that a biopolymer produced by the parasites to protect it from the host’s immune system also appeared to provide the host with protection from infection. This protective biopolymer is similar to chitins, found in the shells of shrimp, and its principle component chitosan is widely used in food preservation, antimicrobial wound dressings for burns and even as a pharmaceutical excipient.
In 2012, AyuVis collaborator Dr. Santosh Panda, and colleagues, published a study showing that a component of chitosan, chitohexaose, could reproduce the protective effects of the parasitic infection at the cellular level through Toll Like Receptor 4 (TLR4). However, this large, complex molecule is not well suited for therapeutic use in a clinical setting.
AyuVis began its drug discovery program by designing small molecule analogs of chitohexaose that would preserve its beneficial therapeutic properties and safety profile but be optimized for pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical use. Using state-of-the-art rational drug design and computational modeling, AyuVis developed a series of novel compounds to produce anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial activation of macrophages via the TLR4 receptor.
The resulting compounds were tested, optimized, and evaluated in a number of preclinical research models of various infectious and inflammatory diseases. Through this process it became apparent that the unique combination of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of AyuVis compounds could have the greatest impact on a spectrum of respiratory diseases and related conditions.