Altamira Therapeutic’s SemaPhore Platform Shown Particularly Effective in Intracellular mRNA Delivery for Cancer Therapy

  • Peer-reviewed study highlights high potential for cell-penetrating peptides in mRNA-based cancer treatments
  • Demonstrates effective uptake and transfection capacity of Altamira’s proprietary delivery platform, SemaPhore™

HAMILTON, Bermuda, July 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Altamira Therapeutics (“Altamira” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: CYTO) a company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs, today announced the publication of a peer-reviewed article in the scientific journal Pharmaceutics titled, “The potential of cell-penetrating peptides for mRNA delivery to cancer cells,” that covers an independently-funded study comparing various mRNA delivery platforms conducted by a Korean research group.

The comparison included Altamira’s SemaPhore platform, which is based on p5RHH, a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP). The study authors concluded, “Our results showed that amphipathic CPPs exhibited more effective uptake and transfection capacity than cationic CPPs. Notably, the p5RHH/mRNA complexes could be selected for potential cancer therapy.”

In their study, the authors compared in vitro eight different, well-known CPPs for their effectiveness in cellular uptake, transfection and expression of mRNA payloads in cancer cells. While mRNA payloads are currently delivered mostly via lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs), the authors highlight several important disadvantages of this technology including limited stability as well as LNP-related toxicity and immunogenicity. CPPs may help to address these challenges. Typically, they are cationic (i.e. positively charged) or amphipathic (i.e. having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups), enabling them to cross biological membranes.

In the study, three cationic and five amphipathic CPPs were evaluated, the latter including Altamira’s SemaPhore. The results demonstrated that the amphipathic CPPs yielded more effective cancer cell uptake than cationic peptides, together with better mRNA translation and fluorescent protein expression inside of cells. Within the group of amphipathic CPPs, SemaPhore-mRNA generated more efficient translation and protein expression than did the others.

“We are delighted by the conclusions from this independent study, which provide further confirmation of SemaPhore’s capacity to deliver mRNA payloads effectively inside cancer cells,” commented Dr. Samuel A. Wickline, Altamira Therapeutics’ Chief Scientific Officer. “A singular advantage of the SemaPhore platform is its ability to promote rapid and extensive escape of mRNA from endosomal compartments to selectively upregulate protein production in disease states.

“Another key SemaPhore advantage is its ability to deliver mRNA to extrahepatic targets by systemic administration, e.g. by intravenous injection, which we have already successfully demonstrated in various disease models. This is of particular relevance for cancer therapies, but also for other therapeutic areas,” Dr. Wickline added.

About Pharmaceutics

Pharmaceutics is a peer-reviewed open access journal on the science and technology of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics and is published monthly online by MDPI. The Spanish Society of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology (SEFIG), Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC), Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (APS) and Korean Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology (KSPST) are affiliated with Pharmaceutics.

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About SemaPhore

SemaPhore is a versatile platform for safe and effective delivery of mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) into target cells. It is based on a proprietary 21 amino acid peptide that can engage any type of RNA in rapid self-assembly into a polyplex. The polyplex has a size, charge, and other physical features that allow it to escape hepatic clearance and thus to reach other target tissues than the liver. SemaPhore protects the RNA payload from degradation in the circulation and allows for rapid cellular uptake, while enabling pH-dependent nucleotide endosomal escape and cytoplasmic delivery. Effective delivery of mRNA and positive treatment outcomes have been demonstrated in various murine models of disease, including osteoarthritis (WNT16), atherosclerosis (p27Kip1) and aortic aneurysm (SOD2).

About Altamira Therapeutics

Altamira Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CYTO) is dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs. The Company is currently active in three areas: the development of RNA therapeutics for extrahepatic therapeutic targets (OligoPhore™ / SemaPhore™ platforms; preclinical), nasal sprays for protection against airborne allergens and, where approved, viruses (Bentrio™; commercial) or for the treatment of vertigo (AM-125; Phase 2), and the development of therapeutics for intratympanic treatment of tinnitus or hearing loss (Keyzilen® and Sonsuvi®; Phase 3). Founded in 2003, it is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, with its main operations in Basel, Switzerland. For more information, visit:

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