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Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
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Advancing the Next Generation of Inflammation-
Dr. Matthew A Gonda, Ph.D.
Founder, President & CEO
Amytrx Therapeutics, Inc.
Maya Frutiger, VP of Corporate Affairs
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine
Published – October 19, 2020
CEOCFO: Dr. Gonda, the first thing I see on the Amytrx Therapeutics, Inc site is “Transformative anti-
Dr. Gonda: Amytrx’s inflammation-
CEOCFO: What is it about what you have developed that allows it to penetrate the cell? What is different about your approach?
Dr. Gonda: AMTX-
Instead of trying to block key components of inflammatory pathways outside of the cell or on the surface of the cell, AMTX-
CEOCFO: What was involved in getting to where you are today? When will you be ready for the world to know about AMTX-
Dr. Gonda: AMTX-
Amytrx was formed in 2014 to commercialize AMTX-
CEOCFO: What is happening today?
Dr. Gonda: We have produced enough GMP drug to enable executing on our FDA approved Phase 1/2b clinical protocol and raised enough capital to support our commercialization plans over the next year or two. There are a large number of diseases caused by inflammation that still represent unmet medical needs. Inflammation causes or is associated with 80% of all diseases worldwide. We wanted to select a disease which represented an unmet medical need and where we could see the results quickly with our new therapeutic. So skin was our target. Of course, there are many skin diseases caused by inflammation, including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, which is also known as eczema, rosacea, acne, herpes infections and shingles. I said, “Let’s target a significant disease of skin with AMTX-
CEOCFO: Why is it so hard to treat eczema? It seems that by now it should be treatable?
Dr. Gonda: There are a number of explanations for the difficulty in treating eczema. Eczema is most likely a conglomeration of a number of different disorders; some maybe genetically caused such as in autoimmune disorders and others may just be an overreaction of the immune system to contact with a microorganism, foreign antigen or chemical. Regardless of the underlying cause, eczema represents a disease in which there is a chronic, smoldering skin inflammation caused by immune dysfunction locally and probably made worse by a systemic immune response. It can express itself as a mild to serious disease that is chronic or intermittent. Injected anti-
CEOCFO: Where does COVID come into play here?
Dr. Gonda: With an infection by COVID, the virus enters the body orally or nasally and initially the infection resides in the lungs where there is extensive virus replication. However, viral receptors for entry into a cell, in addition to lung epithelial cells, are found in a number of cell types throughout the body including endothelial cells of blood vessel walls. That is where you see a lot of the pathogenesis and the damage that is done outside the lung, and since blood vessels reside in all organs, when blood vessels are attacked in weakened organs, significant damage can occur to them. When you have an infection that has not been seen before, the first response to the infection, before you can make antibodies to it, is by the innate immune arm of the immune system. It is the most primitive of immune responses and is represented in all animals. It is rapid in onset and produces cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and activated T-
Therapy for the “cytokine storm”, is where AMTX-
CEOCFO: Are you seeking funding, investment or partnerships for any or all of the things you are working on right now?
Dr. Gonda: Yes. We are a private entity with stock ownership. We seek out funding from non-
CEOCFO: What has been the interest from the investment and the medical side, who have learned what you have developed so far?
Dr. Gonda: I would say the breath of the Amytrx opportunity has created excitement from investors that comes from hearing about a technology which can produce transformative drugs for treating a wide array of unmet medical needs. We [the medical field] have become accustomed to treating end-
CEOCFO: Could people at some point just be taking this all the time to ward off many problems?
Dr. Gonda: At this stage in the history of AMTX-
CEOCFO: You have a long history involved in this arena. How do you deal with the frustration of knowing you have something that could be such a potential game changer in so many ways and it is hard to get it anywhere, let alone everywhere it should be?
Dr. Gonda: Yes, you bring up another good point and this is what we struggle with in conversations when we describe our technology. It is very new. We show people the data and say, “You know, this is a common pathway. Almost all of the anti-
We have incurred queries pertaining to collaborating on our drug. It takes a long time to initiate collaborators to your therapeutic concept when a molecule is first-
CEOCFO: Why should people take a look at Amytrx Therapeutics, Inc?
Dr. Gonda: Several factors play into this: 1) the demonstrated safety of the drug, 2) a thorough understanding of a common, anti-
Pharma have spent twenty+ years researching and commercializing anti-
CEOCFO: It is very exciting!
Dr. Gonda: It is a difficult road for a small company, but we are all very dedicated and excited to see this remarkable peptide technology evolve! You have to raise money; do the business development; execute on the regulatory and clinical development, etc. I have surrounded myself with a group of really talented people that have worked with me off and on for over fifteen to twenty years and have come back to work with Amytrx because of the belief in what they are doing. It has been pretty easy to get experienced people excited and foresee the potential, especially when you have a lot of animal data that shows how well it works. It is not just one experiment. It is ten or fifteen experiments in models of human disease. It works in every case, because it is all the same mechanism of action and pathway.
This will be the first time that a biological molecule is able to penetrate the skin and treat disease, because antibodies are way too big to do that and we are only twenty-
Amytrx Therapeutics, Inc., Dr. Matthew A Gonda, Ph.D., Peptide Therapy for Inflammation, Anti-
Dr. Matthew A Gonda, Ph.D.