Products based on the MERIT platform work by modulating the balance between two fundamental components of the immune system, the equilibrium between cytotoxic and regulatory T cells, and by inducing neutralizing antibodies to specific disease-associated antigens (see below). In the case of autoimmune disease, MERIT based products directed to disease-specific autoantigens limit the damage from autoinflammatory immune responses by induction of antigen-specific regulatory T cells to suppress cytotoxic cells at the sites of autoimmune disease while preserving the immune systems ability to fight off infection. In chronic diseases, MERIT based products are directed to push the immune response to target otherwise poorly recognized self antigens and neutralize their biological effects, but while at the same time maintaining tolerance to the patient’s native molecule and thereby avoiding autoimmune side effects. In infectious diseases, MERIT based products significantly enhance the ability of the immune system to recognize foreign antigens, even in elderly and immunocompromized patients, to enhance protective immunity.
Each MERIT product under development at Mercia is a novel and highly specific biological constructed from a target antigen or epitope conjugated via a clinically proven spacer to an immunogenic carrier. Each construct is optimized for both safety and immunogenicity prior to entering the clinic, thereby, producing a unique therapeutic agent for each disease target. The antigen/conjugate is then formulated in Mercia’s proprietary MAS-1 adjuvant/delivery system.