Enzo Announces Issuance of U.S. Patent for Methods of Using Proprietary Compound SK1-I in Patients; Exploring Options for Development as a Potential Treatment for COVID-19

NEW YORK, NY, April 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Enzo Biochem, Inc.  (NYSE: ENZ), a leading biosciences and diagnostics company, today announced the recent issuance of U.S. Patent No. 10,624,863 entitled Sphingosine Kinase Type 1 Inhibitors and Uses Thereof.  The patent is directed to methods for inhibiting the enzyme Sphingosine kinase 1 in patients using the company’s proprietary compound SK1-I and related Sphingosine kinase 1 inhibitors. 

In February, Enzo reported the publication of work by academic researchers demonstrating that drug candidate SK1-I decreased Interferon (IFN) signature, pDC activation and glomerulonephritis, the inflammation of the filtration units of the kidney, in a chemically induced mouse model of lupus.  In more detail, that work demonstrated that SK1-I reduced the levels of inflammatory cytokines including Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and Interferon-alpha and -beta in the animal model.   Significantly, elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-6, are reported to be associated with the development of respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients.  Based on the results obtained in the lupus model and prior work demonstrating the anti-inflammatory activity of SK1-I in animal models of other immune disorders and on isolated human blood cells, the company is exploring avenues for the development of SK1-I as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Elazar Rabbani, Ph.D., CEO of Enzo Biochem, Inc. commented: “Enzo’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been multi-faceted.  From the launch of molecular diagnostic testing for SARS-Cov-2 on our automated GENFLEXTM platform, to the development of serological testing for IgG and IgM antibodies, providing drive-up testing options to patients through our CLIA-certified clinical laboratory, and now the potential repurposing of SK1-I for the treatment of COVID-19, we are bringing our integrated resources to bear against this pandemic.” 

Sphingosine kinase 1 is a key enzyme in the Sphingosine cell-signaling pathway that has been implicated in tumor cell growth and pathological inflammation.  The enzyme acts by phosphorylating the cellular lipid Sphingosine to form Sphingosine 1-Phosphate (S1P), an important biological mediator of cell proliferation and immune function.  SK1-I is a small molecule that specifically inhibits Sphingosine kinase 1.

U.S. Patent No. 10,624,863 is the latest member of a family of issued U.S. patents, co-owned by Enzo and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and exclusively licensed by VCU to Enzo, that cover SK1-I and related compounds and their use in the treatment of various cancers and immune-inflammatory disorders.  Foreign patent family members have also issued or been allowed.  

Enzo has published a white paper detailing its Comprehensive COVID-19 Program, which is available on Enzo’s website at: https://www.enzo.com/coronavirus.

About Enzo Biochem

Enzo Biochem is a pioneer in molecular diagnostics, leading the convergence of clinical laboratories, life sciences and intellectual property through the development of unique diagnostic platform technologies that provide numerous advantages over previous standards. A global company, Enzo Biochem utilizes cross-functional teams to develop and deploy products, systems and services that meet the ever-changing and rapidly growing needs of health care today and into the future. Underpinning Enzo Biochem’s products and technologies is a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio, with patent coverage across a number of key enabling technologies.

Forward-Looking Statements

Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this release may be considered "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements include declarations regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of the Company and its management, including those related to cash flow, gross margins, revenues, and expenses which are dependent on a number of factors outside of the control of the Company including, inter alia, the markets for the Company’s products and services, costs of goods and services, other expenses, government regulations, litigation, and general business conditions. See Risk Factors in the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2019. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could materially affect actual results. The Company disclaims any obligations to update any forward-looking statement as a result of developments occurring after the date of this release.



For Enzo Biochem, Inc.

David Bench, CFO


Melanie Solomon
The Blueshirt Group

Steve Anreder
Anreder & Company


Source: Enzo Biochem, Inc.