The Breton biotech company, Hermarina, said it is ready to make available a molecule whose action promotes tissue oxygenation to fight against serious forms of Covid-19.
“There is an urgent need to unblock the administrative authorizations. We have products that are clinically tested, we must be able to move forward and meet the demands of hospital doctors,” stated Dr. Franck Zal, the founder of Hemarina.
The biotech company is ready to manufacture 5,000 doses of existing products available to combat the most serious forms of Covid-19, particularly respiratory insufficiency.
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Hermarina’s molecule is derived from marine worms
The molecule developed by Hemarina, called M101, binds 40 times more oxygen than human hemoglobin. Derived from marine worms, this product has been tested for oxygenation applications in grafts.
It took nearly 20 years of experimental marine worm research to bring about the medical innovations developed by Hemarina. The origin of these advances? A specimen of a marine worm called the arenicola, present on the planet for 450 million years and whose hemoglobin has been 40 times more oxygenating than human hemoglobin.
The study of sea worm respiration conducted by Franck Zal made it possible to demonstrate that the arenicole (which only breathes at high tide) was able to stay in the water for a long time: more than 6 hours in apnea against 11 minutes, the record for a human, thanks to his super-oxygenating hemoglobin.
A clinical study was conducted in France
A clinical study, the results of which were published in the American Journal of Transplantation, was conducted in France on more than 60 patients for this indication. Prof. Laurent Lantieri, head of department at the Georges Pompidou Hospital, which used Hemarina’s product for a face transplant, is now urging the authorities to authorize clinical testing of the molecule in emergency situations related to Covid-19.
With overwhelmed intensive care units, the molecule developed by Hemarina could thus be indicated for patients who do not have access to respirators.
The biotech company also pointed out that this treatment would be technically simple to implement. Hemarina has 5,000 doses ready to be offered and can rapidly produce about 30,000 doses.
“The President of the Republic rightly said: ‘we are at war.’ Yes, we are entering a phase of war medicine. The doctors in the field on the front line are all aware of this and, in this case, the principle of measured risk and potential benefit in relation to the risks incurred must take precedence over an exacerbated precautionary principle that would result in counting the dead,” stressed Franck Zal, founder of Hemarina.
The biotech company hopes that its appeal will be heard and that its molecule can soon be tested in France, on patients suffering from COVID-19.
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