A small laboratory in Brooklyn may at first glance appear to be an unlikely location for potentially transformational breakthroughs in blood diseases, or these days, Covid-19. However, such an assumption may not be counting on the inventive scientific brain of Dr Vladislav Sandler. CEO of Hemogenyx.
In fact, he runs a tight ship, both in terms of cost and the number of personnel. That Dr Sandler’s company has been punching above its weight in recent years is due not only to his direct efforts. Backed by a strong advisory team, the £23m market cap group has access to the best research facilities and resources courtesy of its big pharma collaborations.
Of course, so much currently in the biotech / pharma space is centred around hopes of Covid-19 being conquered. The logical approach here is to employ existing work on viruses and see whether it can be applied to this new strain? In this respect it is interesting note that previous research with measles appears to be useful. Indeed, rather in the way that Cowpox led to the demise of Smallpox, it may be that Measles helps in the fight against Covid-19. But this trail gets better.
Whereas Edward Jenner’s achievement was a vaccine against Smallpox, we have the possibility of Hemogenyx being able to develop a cure for Covid-19, something not yet on the map in terms of the pharma Gold Rush in this space. This will no doubt cheer the anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists, but lead us to a logical conclusion to the whole coronavirus saga: a cure for Virus X. The implication being that the research at Hemogenyx could offer a cure not only for the current pandemic, but develop one for future virus strains yet to be seen.
As well as this there is the possibilty of being able to drill down into some of the characteristics of Covid-19, and one of its great mysteries: why some of us are symptomless and others are in receipt of a potentially deadly pathogen? Ongoing autoimmune disease research at Hemogenyx could provide answers, and show us that rather than the company being opportunistic in the face of the current pandemic, there is actually a genuine humanitarian angle to the work in progress over and above the science.
But for those concerned that somehow Dr Sandler and his team are veering away from the day job, blood cancer treatments and therapies are now being addressed on not one but two fronts: CDX antibodies and CAR-T therapies. Clearly, having two treatment routes for the same ailment is better both for the patient and the commercial opportunities down the line at Hemogenyx, something the recent share price spike will have alerted many pharma sector fans to in recent weeks. This is also the backbone for the group should the current sector focus on Covid-19 fade.
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