VIRON’s Membrane Technology & Cell Secretion Platform

Power of the Plasma Membrane Technology Platform

The unit of life is the cell. The average human body contains nearly 38 trillion cells, equal to a linear length that could circle half the globe. Communication between cells is critical to sustaining life. Cellular communication is achieved through the secretion of chemical messages via a nanomachine at the cell plasma membrane called ‘porosome’. Porosomes are composed of more than 30 proteins. Studies report that alterations in certain porosome proteins result in secretory defects and diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders. Drugs targeting these disorders are being developed in the Viron labs.

 Viron, Inc., with its proprietary Porosome Proteome Lipidome (PPL) platform, is a biopharmaceutical company utilizing breakthrough discovery and novel technologies to identify and create patent-pending high-value therapies for currently unarguable porosome protein and lipid targets relating to cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, neurological, digestive and immune disorders. Breakthroughs in genomics and gene-editing technologies, stem cell biology, patient-derived organoids, cryo-electron microscopy, synthetic biology, and small molecule screening and image analysis using AI machine learning and high-throughput screening have changed the whole face of drug discovery. Nevertheless, some eighty-five per cent of disease-causing proteins remain ‘undruggable' and cannot be therapeutically targeted with current technologies. It is here that the PPL platform, based on an industry-recognized paradigm-shifting discovery in cell biology, the discovery of the porosome, the secretory portal in cells required for all intercellular communication, breaks through the straitjacket currently impeding progress in drug discovery. PPL has bypassed key limitations of conventional screening techniques so as to (a) enable the discovery of previously unknown functional protein and lipid targets involved in cell-cell communication through secretion and (b) facilitate the identification of small molecules that selectively bind to those targets, including undruggable targets, and (c) thereby enable the modulation of secretory functions in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders and other hitherto intractable health conditions. The Company continually screens thousands of small molecules across the 30+ proteins in the porosome complex, particularly in neurons and the endocrine and exocrine pancreas, to identify new and novel high-affinity pockets in these protein targets of interest. The resultant data is leveraged to design new covalent small molecules that engage highly specific drug targets. The potency and efficacy of both single and combinatorial small molecule drug formulations are assessed first in silico by their binding affinities to the target porosome proteins and lipids, followed by studies on cell culture, organoids and animals, prior to clinical trials. Through its use of its unique industrial-scale PPL platform, Viron is radically broadening the boundaries of druggability by developing drugs relevant to multiple secretory disorders.

The PPL platform comprises four integrated components:

  • 1. Use of a proprietary porosome proteome and lipidome-focused (PPL) platform technology. Our proprietary technology screens its small molecule library to target proteins and lipids responsible for membrane transport and secretory defects.
  • 2. In Silico assessment of small molecule library screening and binding used to target porosome proteins and lipids. By using high throughput screening combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), the identified small molecule and its target protein undergo rigorous in silico binding assays.
  • 3. Assessment of the potency and efficacy of in silico-identified small molecules on target porosome proteins and lipids on cells and organoids and in animals. Biochemical and pharmacological assays for effective targeting and binding, followed by safety and efficacy studies at the cell, organoid and whole animal level, is performed. Our library of FDA-approved small molecules belonging to the generally approved safe (GRAS) category has been extensively used in our drug discovery program.

 4. Clinical assessment of the potency and efficacy of the selected small molecules in ameliorating various diseases.

Additionally certain diseases result from the entry of pathogens such as pathogenic viruses through the cell plasma membrane. Our scientists are identifying small molecule drugs that regulate various transport functions at the cell membrane to help prevent such pathogen entry.

Examples of diseases associated with defects in neuronal porosome proteins

In Alzheimer’s, the levels of CNPase (2,3-cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase) and the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), both present in the neuronal porosome complex are found to increase, while the levels of porosome-associated dihydropyrimidinase-related protein-2 (DRP-2) is decreased. Similarly, porosome proteins SNAP-25 and synaptophysin are significantly reduced in neurons of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Decreased levels of CNPase have also been reported in the frontal and temporal cortex of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Down’s syndrome. Low CNPase levels have also been detected in the anterior frontal cortex in schizophrenic patients. Additionally, an allele that is associated with low levels of CNPase is also reported to be linked to Schizophrenia.

Over-expression of SNAP-25 results in defects in cognitive function. Similarly, loss of SNAP-25 is associated with Huntington’s disease.

CNPase (2,3-cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase)
DRP-2 (Dihydropyrimidinase-related protein-2)


It's all about membrane proteins and lipids

At VIRON, we are working on developing and testing new plasma membrane-targeted medicines for a wide range of diseases.

We start with a protein or lipid target

All plasma membrane-targeted medicines start with identifying a protein or lipid that can prevent or treat a certain disease.

Then we identify or design the small molecule

Our scientists identify or design small molecule(s) that carry necessary information to associate with or extract a specific group of lipids or proteins at the cell plasma membrane. This is how our COVID-19 nasal spray VIRONRx works. 

FDA-approved small molecules, all in the generally approved safe (GRAS) category, are able to extract specific lipids, and interact with specific proteins at the virus envelope, rendering the virus incapable of infecting the host cell. Additionally, these small molecules are able to help the immune system fight off the viral infection. Identification of the category of these molecules are supported by a large number of preclinical studies over decades, and a number of recent clinical trials, reflecting safety and efficacy in protection from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and all its variants.

At VIRON, we repeat this process to create medicines for other indications

Similarly, to develop an anti flu drug, our science team has carefully studied and screened the impact of such small molecules to incapacitate the influenza virus that causes flu, the HIV virus that causes AIDS, and other pathogenic enveloped viruses and their different strains.

The development of these new medicines are similarly backed by evidence from a large number of preclinical studies spanning over a decade. VIRON will soon be testing these formulations in clinical trials against flu and HIV/AIDS that would work similarly.

We have an extensive pipeline 

In addition to fighting viral diseases, VIRON is also working on other types of membrane protein and lipid-directed medicines, that regulate membrane transport, such as chloride through the Cystic Fibrosis trans membrane conducting channel, to treat Cystic Fibrosis disease, in the release of insulin from beta cells of the endocrine pancreas in treating diabetes, and in the release of growth factors and antibodies in the treatment of cancer and many other indications.

Cell Membrane-Directed Small Molecules in Modern Medicine 

45+ years of Research on Cell Membrane and Rigorous Testing in Innovative Medicines

 Cell Membrane Transport Expertise

Our scientists are experts in creating medicines directed at the cell membrane transport process. They are devoted and dedicated scientists that have taken new discoveries and inventions from the bench to the bed side, and refined the process in making membrane-directed, safe and effective small molecule medicine.

Cell Membrane-Directed Small Molecule Medicine is Transformative

With our membrane-directed small molecule technology, we are revolutionizing medicine and developing new highly effective treatments rapidly and at lower cost, for previously untreatable and several emerging diseases such as SARS-CoV-2. 

VIRON will positively impact the lives of people globally 

Our membrane technology platform, with its speed, scale, and flexibility, is uniquely poised to serve a wide range of current and emerging pathogens that threaten humanity.

Our approach in the development of VIRONRx within a year to treat emerging infectious diseases like SARS-CoV-2 and other viral diseases like flu and HIV, is a testament of the potential of our platform to positively impact the lives of millions of people globally. Our research and design services enable us and our partners to advance new product ideas into development candidates.

Our scientific team, institutional collaborators and research infrastructure, and our manufacture, marketing and distribution partners nationally and globally, enables accelerated pre-clinical and clinical research from idea to development of medicine and their manufacture and distribution globally.

Our membrane technology platform using FDA-approved small molecules and an experienced scientific and management team, provides:

  1. Drug development by a highly experienced team of experts includes a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.
  2. Management & Scientific Team are experienced experts in the biotechnology space.
  3. Our use of FDA-approved small molecules increases safety and consumer confidence.
  4. Repurposing existing small molecules as drugs provides speed in commercialization and scale up capability.
  5. Development of new drugs accomplished at a fraction of the cost (Average drug development costs $1.5B).
  6. Rapid drug development.
  7. Lower cost of the drug promotes large market size and wide global access and use.