Modus Therapeutics and Imperial College London Sign Clinical Collaboration Targeting Severe Malaria

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Project is supported by Wellcome

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – 11 June 2021: Modus Therapeutics Holding AB (“Modus”), a company developing innovative treatments for patients with high unmet medical needs, announces that it has entered a clinical research collaboration with a team led by Professor Kathryn Maitland from Imperial College London, UK. The project aims at researching the effect of the Company’s proprietary drug sevuparin in patients with severe malaria.

Modus is currently developing sevuparin in sepsis/septic shock, and other conditions with systemic inflammation, with severe malaria being a further example. These conditions constitute major healthcare problems.

Severe malaria, like sepsis/septic shock, remains an unaddressed medical problem in the parts of the world with endemic malaria. The condition primarily affects young children infected with the parasites. In severe malaria, the parasitic infection causes a systemic inflammation syndrome that shares similarities with sepsis and other severe conditions resulting in uncontrolled systemic inflammation, which can then progress into shock and multi-organ failure.

The malaria project is funded by a collaborator grant in science from Wellcome (209265/Z/17/Z) to Professor Maitland’s research group at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Programme, Kilifi Kenya and to the international consortium “Severe Malaria Africa -A consortium for Research and Trials” (SMAART), the goal of which is to identify and research new treatments for severe malaria.

Under the collaboration, Modus will supply sevuparin to a future clinical study in patients with severe malaria. Sevuparin has already shown promising effects on the malaria parasite in patients with uncomplicated malaria and in human samples (Leitgeb et al 2017, Saiwaew et al 2017).

Professor Kathryn Maitland of Imperial College London on the planned clinical study:

“Given the potential of sevuparin to be transformative in improving current outcomes from severe malaria, a large group of specialist doctors in severe malaria research and clinical trials suggested that sevuparin should be tested in children with severe malaria. All members of the group helped to design this clinical trial (Pan African Trials Registry PACTR202007890194806), which will be conducted on the high dependency ward in Kilifi, Kenya.”

John Öhd, CEO of Modus Therapeutics, commenting on the collaboration said:

I am very excited to announce this ground-breaking collaborative effort designed to evaluate the potential of sevuparin as a new treatment for the severe form of malaria. This work will also provide an important opportunity for Modus to understand more about sevuparin’s potential to tackle disorders involving systemic inflammation in parallel with our lead indication, sepsis. We are also honored to be able to participate in this work led by Professor Maitland, a world-leader in clinical malaria research and which has the backing of institutions such as Imperial College London and Wellcome.”


About Modus Therapeutics AB

Modus Therapeutics is a Swedish biotech company developing sevuparin with a focus on diseases with high unmet medical need. The Company’s near-term focus is to develop sevuparin for patients with sepsis/septic shock, a severe and often fatal condition. Sepsis/septic shock constitutes a bacteria-induced state of severe systemic inflammation. Severe systemic inflammation can also occur from several other serious medical events such as major surgery, trauma, burns, autoimmunity to mention a few, which are also potential high need indications of interest for sevuparin. Modus is backed by Karolinska Development AB (Nasdaq Stockholm: KDEV), KDev Investments AB, (Karolinska Development AB and Rosetta Capital), The Foundation for Baltic and European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen) and Praktikerinvest AB.

About sevuparin

Sevuparin is a clinical stage, innovative proprietary polysaccharide drug with a multimodal mechanism of action, including anti-inflammatory, anti-adhesive and anti-aggregate effects.  Sevuparin is a heparinoid with markedly attenuated anti-coagulation features that allows severalfold higher doses to be given, compared to regular heparinoids, without the associated risk for bleeding side-effects. Two routes of administration of sevuparin are currently being tested – an IV formulation for in-patient administration and a subcutaneous formulation that allows ambulatory and home care administration. 

About severe malaria and sevuparin

One key event in severe malaria is when red blood cells that are infected with malaria parasites stick to the very deep parts of the blood vessels. This occurs throughout the body causing poor blood flow to the tissues which leads to a build-up of body acids (called lactate) and inflammation. Currently, there are no treatments available to prevent, reverse or stop cells from sticking to the blood vessels when infected with malaria parasites.

In addition to counteracting harmful mediators from white blood cells (Rasmuson et al 2019), sevuparin acts by preventing malaria parasites getting into red cells (necessary for parasite survival). Furthermore, sevuparin prevents red cells infected with malaria parasites from sticking to the blood vessels and is also able to ‘detach’ cells infected with malaria parasites already stuck to the blood vessel with a potential for positive effects on blood flow (Leitgeb et al 2017, Saiwaew et al 2017).


John Öhd, CEO, Modus Therapeutics:

Tel: +46 70 766 8097


David Dible, Mark Swallow, Evelyn McCormack - Citigate Dewe Rogerson
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