"We source our biodiversity from nature – medicinal plants, marine organisms, or humans. We use supercritical fluid solvents, as a replacement for organic solvents. When compressed, these fluids exhibit enhanced thermodynamic properties of penetration, selection, solvation, and expansion. We manipulate these fluids on a cellular level to increase process selectivity and speed while reducing processing steps, toxic organic usage and manufacturing costs."

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Dr. Trevor P. Castor

PRESIDENT & CEO, APHIOS

May 20, 2020

How has Aphios evolved since its founding and how has nature influenced the development of your therapeutics?

Aphios’ vision is to develop biotechnology products for improving health and treating chronic diseases in an environmentally sustainable manner. Aphios was established in 1993 with an initial focus on developing enabling technology platforms for improving drug discovery, drug manufacturing, drug delivery and pathogenic drug safety focused on the inactivation of viruses and pathogens in the blood supply and our bodies. Aphios is a combination of two Greek words, which means virus free. We spent approximately a decade developing, validating and patenting these platforms and from there, we started developing therapeutic products based on these platforms. In 2003, we began our first big clinical trial for our patented product Zindol for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. That was influenced by nature, because it was a ginger based product. Currently Zindol is on the marketplace as a dietary supplement, while we focus on attaining FDA approval.

We also developed a technology for manufacturing Taxol, a potent anti-cancer agent. Today, we have several products in development, including APH-0812, for which we were just awarded a US patent. It is a combination therapy of a protein kinase C (PKC) modulator and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor in a nanoparticle that is targeted for HIV latency.  

Can you elaborate on the Aphios’ partnership with LSU Health Shreveport?

We have a partnership with LSU Health Shreveport to develop drugs for Alzheimers disease and cognitive disorders, as well as for the transplantation of kidneys and the liver. Together we have developed and patented a technology and product for improving the length of which an organ can be preserved before transplantation.

What is Aphios strategy for pushing its products forward and taking them to market?

Aphios’ strategy is to license as early as possible. We collaborate with strategic partners and/or license our enabling technology platform to research and develop novel drugs, and for the reformulation of existing drugs to reduce toxicity and improve efficacy and therapeutic index, while extending product life. We will also collaborate with strategic investors and corporate partners to further the development and commercialization of our therapeutic products.

What are your thoughts on the current developments in the neurodegenerative space and the potential for making important strides forward?  

There is an association between amyloid plaques and tau entanglements in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The question remains how to prevent this from happening or to reduce it once it does happen. There are three critical neural enzymes that affect amyloid plaques. They are Beta-secretase, Gamma-secretase, and Alpha-secretase. Pharmaceutical companies have focused on Beta-secretase and Gamma-secretase, but these have been difficult to translate into effective clinical treatments for AD.

Aphios’ approach is to upregulate Alpha-secretase, which positively impacts amyloid precursor protein, (APP) processing. Both Beta-secretase and Gamma-secretase cleave APP to form insoluble amyloid plaques that set in motion tau fiber assembly. In contrast, Alpha-secretase cleaves APP into a harmless and more soluble product, that supports new synapse formation and is more readily cleared from the brain. Thus, unlike current strategies, which aim to suppress amyloid plaque formation by minimizing Beta- and Gamma-secretase activities, our strategy is to activate Alpha-secretase, which will effectively eliminate the substrate for Beta-amyloid generation, and at the same time lead to positive amyloid precursor processing, to both prevent and reduce amyloid plaques in AD.

Can you elaborate more on Aphios’ platforms?

We are leading the way in developing green, enabling biotechnology and nanotechnology drug delivery platforms and enhanced therapeutic products for health maintenance and the treatment of chronic diseases. We source our biodiversity from nature – medicinal plants, marine organisms, or humans. We use supercritical fluid solvents, as a replacement for organic solvents. When compressed, these fluids exhibit enhanced thermodynamic properties of penetration, selection, solvation, and expansion. We manipulate these fluids on a cellular level to increase process selectivity and speed while reducing processing steps, toxic organic usage and manufacturing costs.

This technology is especially relevant with the ongoing corona virus pandemic.  Our pathogen inactivation technology can clear viruses from the blood supply, and our photoluminescence molecular flashlight therapeutic can inactivate viruses within our body.

What trends are you currently seeing?

Cannabis-based drugs are becoming a huge trend in the market. Aphios is developing FDA-approved, cannabis-based drugs for treating unmet central and peripheral nervous system disorders of opioid addiction and pain. Cannabinoids have a lot of potential to affect the body.

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