Our Science

In the last few years, the team have uncovered the ‘black box’ of preeclampsia by manipulating the protective pathways they discovered, which puts the brakes on preeclampsia (The Car Analogy). This led them to identify the molecular roadmap of preeclampsia by employing an ingenious approach to their scientific investigation. This has resulted in the development of accurate diagnostics and targeted therapeutics that are now proprietary properties of MirZyme.

MirZyme has in its pipeline a series of patented products that have proven effective in a range of preclinical and clincial studies. The company is using its proprietary predictive tools and creating targeted therapeutics with companion diagnostics for the management of preeclampsia for which there is no cure.

 

Scientific Principles

A number of studies have consistently shown that the imbalance in anti-angiogenic factors is most strongly associated with the clinical signs of preeclampsia and disease severity.

 

Anti-angiogenic factors such as soluble Flt-1 (sFlt) and soluble endoglin (sEng) are increased prior to the clinical onset of preeclampsia and pregnant animals exposed to high circulating levels of sFlt-1 illicit severe preeclampsia symptoms. Preeclampsia arises due to the loss of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) activiy as a result of the increase of endogenous sFlt-1, 

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The Car Analogy

Pregnancy can be seen as a journey in a car. The accelerator is represented by the angiogenic milieu and the brakes are represented by the protective pathways that we have discovered. It is the failure in the braking systems during the journey that causes an imbalance and results in the ‘accelerator’ driving out of control until the system eventually crashes. In this analogy, the system crash manifests itself as preeclampsia.
 
When the system starts to fail, the detection of a failure in the braking system is represented by our diagnostic test. Our therapeutics provide ways to replace the failing brakes with new brake pads, therefore maintaining system balance and preventing the car from crashing i.e. preventing preeclampsia.
 
MirZyme has developed ways to identify diagnostics and therapeutics for preeclampsia that target the protective pathways and the networks connecting them.

 

What is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a common condition in pregnancy which can be life-threatening for both mother and baby in severe cases. Globally, it affects 10 million pregnant women each year and is responsible for up to 25% of fetal growth restriction (FGR) cases. It also accounts for up to 20% of all preterm births.
 
Every minute, somewhere in the world a woman or a baby dies due to preeclampsia. This amounts to 1,600 daily deaths and over 570,000 deaths in a year.

The current diagnosis of preeclampsia is complex and involves the indirect analysis of maternal health using clinical, biochemical and haematological measures. It requires multiple hospital visits and current management options are not directed at its prevention or treatment. Delivering the baby is the only option available to pregnant women if severe preeclampsia develops despite careful management. There is a significant cost associated with the increased testing and monitoring of pregnant women at risk of developing preeclampsia.

High risk factors for preeclampsia identified during booking appointment.

  • Hypertensive disease during a previous pregnancy

 

  • Chronic kidney disease

 

  • Autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus or antiphospholipid syndrome

 

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes

 

  • Chronic hypertension

  • Hypertensive disease during a previous pregnancy

 

  • Chronic kidney disease

 

  • Autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus or antiphospholipid syndrome

 

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes

 

  • Chronic hypertension

Moderate risk factors for preeclampsia identified during booking appointment.

  • First pregnancy

  • More than 40 years old

  • Pregnancy interval of more than 10 years

  • Body mass index of 35 kg/m2 or more at first visit

  • Family history of preeclampsia

  • Multiple pregnancy

  • First pregnancy

  • More than 40 years old

  • Pregnancy interval of more than 10 years

  • Body mass index of 35 kg/m2 or more at first visit

  • Family history of preeclampsia

  • Multiple pregnancy

 

What is FGR?

Globally, an estimated 20 million infants are born annually with low birthweight (<2500 g). The classification of small for gestational age was defined by a 1995 WHO expert committee as infants below the 10th percentile of birth-weight-for-gestational-age  Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR). It is a condition in which a baby’s growth slows or stops during pregnancy. FGR can be caused by any aberration in the normal biological processes occurring during pregnancy and have adverse effects on the growth of the fetus. Preterm and preeclamptic infants are at higher risk of FGR compared to full-term and healthy infants. More importantly, FGR infants are 7 times more likely to die prematurely.

The current diagnosis of FGR is based on discrepancies between actual and expected sonographic biometric measurements for a given gestational age.  In many Western countries, primary care for suspected FGR are serial fundal height assessments to monitor the fetuses. 
 

If FGR is suspected, patients are asked to have;

  • Fetal ultrasound to estimate the fetal weight

 

  • Doppler ultrasound to check the blood flow to the placenta and through the umbilical cord to the baby. A fetus with FGR will have decreased blood flow.​