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GeNeuro and FondaMental Foundation announce the first results of the collaboration for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with post-COVID neuropsychiatric syndromes

GENEVA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Regulatory news:

GeNeuro (Euronext Paris: CH0308403085 – GNRO), a biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the severe neuropsychiatric consequences of COVID- 19 (post-COVID), and the FondaMental Foundation, a foundation for scientific cooperation serving patients with mental illness, presented at the congress of the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) from April 6 to 10 in Florence, Italy, the first data from their collaboration launched in 2021, in the context of COVID.

These results were presented during the session entitled “The human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) as the missing link between inflammation and schizophrenia in the context of COVID” with presentations by Pr Marion Leboyer (Paris-Est-Créteil University, H. Mondor Hospital, FondaMental Foundation, Créteil, France), Dr Livia de Picker (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Pr Urs Meyer (University of Zurich , Switzerland) and Dr Hervé Perron (GeNeuro), and concluded by Prof. Robert Yolken (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA).

The first results presented in Florence were based on the analysis of blood samples from 104 patients hospitalized between January and March 2021 for psychiatric disorders, either for the first time or due to relapses, in the psychiatry department of Pr Leboyer in Créteil at H Mondor Hospital, and 63 controls.

The objective of this analysis was to measure the rate of coronavirus infection in a population without reported COVID disease and to search for links between SARS-CoV-2 infection and the endogenous retroviral protein W-ENV. The analyzes were carried out by the INSERM “We-Met” platform of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse.

Serological analyzes specific to SARS-CoV-2 showed that 82% of patients admitted to psychiatry had been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Detection of the W-ENV protein was positive in the serum of 40% of the patients studied, but almost exclusively and very significantly in patients seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 (p

“We have repeatedly, in independent cohorts, shown the presence of the W-ENV protein in blood samples from patients with psychotic spectrum disorders and chronic systemic inflammation.“, declared Professor Marion Leboyer, Director of the Psychiatry Service of the CHU Henri Mondor (Paris Est Créteil University) and Director of the FondaMental Foundation.The results of our study in these patients hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that most of them had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. These data reinforce the interest of a personalized therapeutic approach in W-ENV positive patients against neuropsychiatric syndromes in the post-COVID-19 context.”

Studies published in 2021 had shown that W-ENV expression was triggered by SARS-CoV-2 in white blood cells and tissues from around 20% of healthy donors, suggesting individual susceptibility. This protein was also detected in the blood of hospitalized COVID-19 patients where the amount of expression in lymphocytes was associated with the severity of disease progression. The persistence of W-ENV expression long after the acute phase of the disease and its association with immuno-inflammatory manifestations support the biological hypothesis of its importance in the long-term neuropsychiatric syndromes suffered by many post-COVID patients. .

“The action of the W-ENV protein on innate inflammation and its deleterious action on cells of the nervous system have been documented for 20 years.“, add Dr. Hervé Perron, scientific director of GeNeuro.Post-COVID is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, probably with a multifactorial origin. But the ability to detect W-ENV in post-COVID patients with neuropsychiatric disorders allows the identification of a well-defined group of patients who can be treated quickly with the aim of improving their condition by neutralizing this pathogenic protein..

GeNeuro has developed temelimab, a specific antibody against the W-ENV protein, which has shown promising results in phase II trials in multiple sclerosis against MRI markers of neurodegeneration. Temelimab has shown excellent safety and tolerability in several hundred patients treated for 2 years or more. GeNeuro is preparing to launch a clinical trial in 200 W-ENV positive patients with post-COVID neuropsychiatric syndromes. This clinical trial is co-financed by the Federal Office of Public Health.

About GeNeuro

GeNeuro’s mission is to develop safe and effective treatments for neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, by neutralizing causal factors encoded by HERVs, which make up 8% of human DNA.

GeNeuro is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has R&D facilities in Lyon, France. It holds rights to 17 patent families protecting its technology.

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About the FondaMental Foundation

The FondaMental Foundation is a scientific cooperation foundation, located at Albert Chenevier Hospital, Créteil (France). Its mission is to innovate in the organization of care, to support research and innovation in the service of mental illnesses, to deploy training and improve information to reduce stigma.

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