March 24, 2015 +44 (0)20 7025 7911 [email protected]

The Science


VIP’s lead molecule is Coversin, a recombinant small protein (16,740 Da) derived from a native protein discovered in the saliva of the Ornithodoros moubata tick where it plays an important role in modulating the host immune system in order that the parasite can feed without either alerting the host to its presence or provoking an immune response which could damage the tick through ingestion of cytokines and antibodies. 250 million years of natural selection has optimised the molecule for this purpose.

Coversin is a second generation complement inhibitor and, unlike first generation complement inhibitors such as eculizumab, currently the only approved complement C5 inhibitor, it is not an antibody and therefore it can be given by small volume subcutaneous injection making patient self-administration possible and avoiding the necessity for time-consuming and costly intravenous infusions at two weekly intervals.

The molecule is compact, water soluble and inherently stable. It binds to complement C5 by a high affinity active surface site and also has a second active site within the beta barrel which binds the inflammatory mediator LTB4 and may confer additional anti-inflammatory properties.

Coversin is not an antibody or a receptor blocking agent. It is manufactured by fermentation in E. coli, a much less costly method of manufacture than antibodies. Its small size enables it to be administered by a variety of routes including subcutaneous injection and inhalation.

The Coversin molecule has been successfully engineered in a variety of ways. It can also be lyophilised to allow storage at ambient temperature and facilitate different formulations including inhaled dry powder.

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