First-in-Class Disease-Modifying Therapeutics in Rare Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Diseases

Recent News

ARMGO Pharma raises $35 million to progress clinical studies of lead molecule ARM210 in cardiac and skeletal muscle diseases
12.20.21

ARMGO Pharma’s mission is to use rigorous science to develop novel small molecule drugs that repair calcium channels to help patients in need

Company Summary

ARMGO is a privately owned, venture-backed, biotech company that is developing small molecule drugs that repair leaky Ryanodine Receptor (RyR) calcium channels associated with human diseases. We hold an exclusive, worldwide license from Columbia University for its RyR technology and know-how. Our primary focus is on two orphan diseases: the life-threatening cardiac disease Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT), and the severe muscle disease RYR1-Related Myopathy (RYR1-RM). These two conditions occur due to genetic mutations in the RYR gene: RYR1 in RYR1-RM, and RYR2 in most CPVT cases. ARMGO’s molecules, termed Rycals® are designed to repair leaky RyR channels. Since the cause of the symptoms is abnormal calcium leak due to these mutations, Rycals hold the promise of disease-modifying therapy for these two orphan genetic diseases.

 

ARMGO Pharma
ARMGO Pharma

The ARMGO Team

ARMGO Team
Eugene Marcantonio, <br/>MD, PhD
Eugene Marcantonio,
MD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Yael Webb, <br/>PhD, JD
Yael Webb,
PhD, JD
Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel
Kathi Larson, <br/>BBA
Kathi Larson,
BBA
Chief Financial Officer
Rachael Russell
Rachael Russell
Vice President Clinical Operations
Yigal Pinto, <br/>MD, PhD
Yigal Pinto,
MD, PhD
Medical Director
Hermann-Josef Kaiser, <br/>PhD
Hermann-Josef Kaiser,
PhD
Business Development Advisor
John Ford, <br/>PhD
John Ford,
PhD
Executive Chairman
Andrew Marks, <br/>MD
Andrew Marks,
MD
Founder
Eugene Marcantonio, <br/>MD, PhD
Eugene Marcantonio,
MD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Peter Neubeck, <br/>MD
Peter Neubeck,
MD
Investor Director
Geert-Jan Mulder, <br/>MD
Geert-Jan Mulder,
MD
Investor Director
Iyona Rajkomar, <br/>MBBS, CFA
Iyona Rajkomar,
MBBS, CFA
Investor Director
Dmitrij Hristodorov, <br/>PhD
Dmitrij Hristodorov,
PhD
Investor Director
Andrew Schiff, <br/>MD
Andrew Schiff,
MD
Board Observer
Antoine Boulanger, <br/>PhD
Antoine Boulanger,
PhD
Board Observer

Research

RyRs are homotetrameric intracellular calcium release channels responsible for Ca2+ flow from the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticula (SR/ER) into the cytoplasm of most cell types. RyR1 is the predominant isoform in mammalian skeletal muscle, where SR Ca2+ release via RyR1 is required for excitation-contraction coupling and normal muscle function. RyR2 is the predominant isoform in cardiac muscle where ER Ca2+ release via RyR2 is required for normal cardiac muscle function. Human genetic mutations in RYR1 and RYR2 genes cause calcium to leak from RyR channels, leading to disease (Figure 1).

RyR channels normally alternate between a resting (closed) and excited (open) state. In certain diseases, RyR is modified and becomes leaky. Inhibition of the channel would stop the leak, but this intervention would not generally be beneficial since it would block the normal function of RyR. Rycals, molecules that can restore normal channel function without blocking RyR, open the possibility of therapeutic interventions.

Figure 1: Model of RyR function. RyR controls the flow of calcium (Ca2+) from inside the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum (ER/SR) through the membrane to the cytoplasm. (A) Normal RyR regulates calcium flow by alternating between a closed and open state. (B) In CPVT and RYR1-RM, mutated RyR is leaky, leading to abnormal calcium flow, resulting in disease symptoms. (C) Rycals bind to leaky channels and repair the leak, restoring normal channel function. Rycals do not block RyR.

RyR1 and Skeletal Muscle

RyR1 plays a critical role in skeletal muscle, and RyR1 mutations in humans lead to a progressive myopathy, known as RYR1-RM. The causative mutations lead to a leaky channel, robbing the muscle of the ability to respond effectively to contraction signals, leading to muscle weakness.

RyR2 and Exercise-induced Sudden Cardiac Death

CPVT is characterized by exercise-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmias due to RyR2 mutations that render the channel leaky. Under normal states, the channel opening occurs during the contractile phase of the cardiac cycle, namely during systole. CPVT mutations render the channels leaky such that opening can occur inappropriately with exercise or stress leading to often fatal arrhythmias.

ARMGO has progressed Rycal ARM210 into clinical development, with the goal of repairing leaky RyR channels in human diseases. Our focus is on the two human diseases with genetic mutations in RYRs, which validate RyR as a therapeutic target. The two diseases are the severe muscle disease RYR1-Related Myopathy (RYR1-RM) with mutations in RYR1, and the life-threatening cardiac disease Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT), with mutations in RYR2 in most cases. In vitro, as well as in animal studies, ARM210 has been shown to be disease-modifying, by repairing the leaky channels and improving disease symptoms.

The mechanism by which ARM210 is believed to repair leaky channels has been elucidated by ARMGO’S founder, Dr. Andrew Marks (Columbia University). First, Melville et al., (2022) identified the binding site and mechanism of action of ARM210 on RyR1. A second study (Miotto et al., 2022) has recently delineated the structural basis for CPVT mutations in RyR2 and the mechanism of action of ARM210 on those mutant forms.

Using a series of cryo-electron microscopy structures, Miotto et al., showed that RyR2-R2474S, a mutant channel harboring a point mutation causing CPVT in humans, already adopts a primed state whereas wild-type RyR2 did not. The primed state has been shown to be a transition between the closed and open conformations of these channels. Once primed, the mutant channel can be more easily shifted to the open conformation. The normal channel will be open only during systole, which is the appropriate phase of the cardiac cycle for calcium release. The mutant channel however can be open in both systole and diastole with exercise and/or stress. This can lead to the ventricular arrhythmias characteristic of CPVT.

ARM210 was shown to bind and reverse the primed state of mutant RyR2. This binding stabilized the closed state and prevented pathological pore opening.

Clinical Studies

ARM210 is currently being investigated in both RYR1-RM and CPVT patients, to demonstrate proof-of-concept in both diseases.

Structural analyses of human ryanodine receptor type 2 channels reveal the mechanisms for sudden cardiac death and treatment

Miotto, Weninger, Dridi, Yuan, Liu, Wronska, Melville, Sittenfeld, Reiken, Marks. Sci Adv. 2022. PMID: 35857850

A drug and ATP binding site in type 1 ryanodine receptor

Melville, Dridi, Yuan, Reiken, Wronska, Liu, Clarke, Marks. Structure. 2022. PMID: 35580609

Intracellular calcium leak as a therapeutic target for RYR1-related myopathies

Kushnir, Todd, Witherspoon, Yuan, Reiken, Lin, Munce, Wajsberg, Melville, Clarke, Wedderburn-Pugh, Wronska, Razaqyar, Chrismer, Shelton, Mankodi, Grunseich, Tarnopolsky, Tanji, Hirano, Riazi, Kraeva, Voermans, Gruber, Allen, Meilleur, Marks. Acta Neuropathol. 2020. PMID: 32236737

Ryanodine channel complex stabilizer compound S48168/ARM210 as a disease modifier in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice: proof-of-concept study and independent validation of efficacy

Capogrosso, Mantuano, Uaesoontrachoon, Cozzoli, Guistino, Dow, Srinivassane, Filipovic, Bell, Vandermeulen, Massari, De Bellis, Conte, Pierno, Camerino, Liantonio, Nagaraju, De Luca. FASEB J. 2018. PMID: 29097503

Pipeline

ARMGO Pipeline

Clinical Trials

ARMGO is committed to bringing first-in-class and best-in-class therapeutics to patients with cardiac and skeletal muscle disorders. We are developing a novel class of compounds, Rycals®, which target and fix leaky Ryanodine Receptor (RyR) channels that cause human diseases.

Our clinical lead, ARM210 is currently being investigated in two RyR genetic disorders:

1. Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT) – a rare condition causing life threatening changes in heart rhythm

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05122975

and

2. Ryanodine receptor 1-Related Myopathy (RYR1-RM) – a rare condition causing significant muscle weakness in adults and children.

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04141670

To follow our progress and news announcements please follow ARMGO Pharma Inc. on LinkedIn.

ARMGO Pharma
ARMGO Pharma

News & Events

Join ARMGO at BIO-EUROPE in Leipzig, Germany, October 24 – 26, 2022
10.14.22
ARMGO Pharma raises $35 million to progress clinical studies of lead molecule ARM210 in cardiac and skeletal muscle diseases
12.20.21
ARMGO Pharma Inc. Announces Clinical Trial of ARM210/S48168 for the Treatment of Ryanodine Receptor Type 1 Related Myopathies
12.17.19

Contact


    ARMGO Pharma, Inc.

    923 Saw Mill River Road, PMB#260

    Ardsley, NY 10502

    USA

     

    ARMGO Pharma, B.V.

    Gooimeer 2-35

    1411 DC Naarden

    The Netherlands