Organo-phosphorous (OP) Chemical Warfare Agents (CWA) present one of the most heinous threats due to their ability to incapacitate and kill at extremely low doses. With currently available countermeasures, exposed individuals often suffer severe side effects from OP CWA exposure for weeks to months post exposure. OP molecules are also commonly used as insecticides, herbicides, and flame retardants. These molecules have varying degrees of toxicity to humans, but most have acute as well as long-term toxic effects.
Military, agricultural, and manufacturing personnel, who are at a higher risk of exposure to these molecules, would benefit from a pre-exposure prophylactic (PrEP) treatment which can avoid the lasting effects. Recent research has identified a proprietary antidote as an OP CWA bio-scavenger capable of preventing the severe effects of OP CWA exposure. Known to have a long circulating half-life, PrEP doses of this proprietary antidote could be used to protect susceptible individuals.
In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, our experts aim to develop an expression system capable of producing full sized proprietary antidotes to be used as an OP CWA bio-scavenger suitable for human administration. Additionally, the expression system will be able to produce clinically significant quantities of this proprietary antidote for further testing and regulatory approval.
Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) is an acute illness caused by a high dose of ionizing radiation (IR) in a short period of time. Global proliferation of radioactive and nuclear materials has resulted in increased threat of weaponized exposure or inadvertent exposure resulting from industrial accidents. While there are FDA-approved postexposure therapeutic drugs to treat the hematopoietic sub-syndrome of ARS, there are no radioprotectors currently approved by the FDA for general human use for the prevention of ARS.
Our team collaborates with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in reshaping the response to ARS amid escalating threats of radioactive exposure. Harnessing natural biological polymer, as a potent radioprotector we engineered microbes to produce advanced countermeasure with proven capacity to absorb UV, X-rays, and gamma rays while boasting minimal toxicity. Beyond its radioprotective attributes, the parallels drawn between our biopolymer and skin protection are remarkable, underscoring its potential in modulating ionizing radiation damage to enhance safety and resilience.
Traumatic injuries often lead to contaminated wounds with a high load of foreign object debris and pathogenic bacteria. Without immediate treatment, infection becomes a serious risk to life and limb requiring evacuation of casualties and significant outlay of manpower and resources. Gram-negative, multi-drug resistant (MDR) K. pneumoniae infections are undergoing a resurgence of morbidity and mortality due to the rise of MDR infectious pathogens particularly in patients with co-morbidities. As of 2020, K. pneumoniae has become particularly insidious as the most common cause of hospital-acquired pneumonia in the US, and the organism accounts for 3% to 8% of all hospital acquired bacterial infections. The astronomical cost of treating such casualties, often exceeding $1 million per case, underscores the urgent need for innovative therapies like monoclonal antibodies (mABs).
Tekholding aims to expand the development of mABs against infectious threats starting with K. pneumoniae using innovative methodology. Our team is collaborating with the Johns Hopkins University to develop fully humanized antibodies with proven antimicrobial activity, promising a new frontier in the fight against antibiotic-resistant pathogens and enhancing our ability to generate vital antibody candidates for future treatments.