GUELPH, Ontario — Canadian biopharmaceutical company AntoXa Corporation has been awarded a contract extension from the Government of Canada that includes development of plant-made recombinant human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a potential coronavirus treatment.

Under the terms of the amended contract with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), AntoXa will also continue development of plant-made butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), a protein that protects against toxic nerve agents. DRDC exercised an option to extend the contract to March 31, 2022, increasing the total value of the projects up to $828,712.38 over three years. 

Researchers are interested in ACE2 as it is the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, providing the entry point for the virus to infect cells. ACE2 could be used to target SARS-CoV-2 by blocking the spike protein from attaching to healthy cells, making it a potential candidate for prophylactic use or for use in the very early stages of COVID infection.

“Perhaps the most exciting thing about ACE2 is that it’s variant-agnostic, which means it could be effective against all of the variants of concern in the current pandemic,” said Ashley Meyers, AntoXa’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

For more, see the complete news release on the AntoXa website.