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Monopar Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MNPR) (Wilmette, IL) and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC (Beloit, WI), who are collaborating on the development of urokinase plasminogen activator receptor targeted radio-immuno-therapeutics (uPRITs) for the potential treatment of patients with severe COVID-19, today announced a partnership with Aragen Bioscience, Inc. (Morgan Hill, CA),  a leading contract research organization focused on accelerating preclinical biologics product development. Aragen will perform studies aimed at selecting a lead candidate uPRIT to advance into IND-enabling development for severe COVID-19.

“Aragen’s expertise in this specific area of preclinical research should accelerate selection of a lead uPRIT based on the MNPR-101 antibody scaffold to advance toward the clinic,” said Andrew Mazar, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Monopar.

“We are pleased to partner with Aragen on this important phase of the uPRIT program,” said James T. Harvey, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer of NorthStar. “Using rigorous criteria to select the uPRIT candidate to advance into IND-enabling studies is a crucial part of our COVID-19 program.”

“uPRIT has great therapeutic potential for severe COVID-19 patients,” said Axel Schleyer, PhD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Aragen. “We are excited to partner with Monopar and NorthStar on this important endeavor.”

The aim of this partnership is to identify the uPRIT with the optimal urokinase plasminogen activator receptor binding profile, enabling selective delivery of a cytotoxic radioisotope to just those aberrantly activated immune cells that produce the “cytokine storm” that causes severe lung injury, multiple organ damage, and death in severe COVID-19 patients.