Innovate UK (IUK) has awarded a grant of £800,000 to fund the majority of the £1 million cost of an initial programme to produce a novel, preventative treatment for Covid-19. Anti-infectives companies Destiny Pharma and SporeGen™ are working together on the second-generation treatment for Covid-19, which would be effective within a few days of treatment via nasal spray.
SPOR-COV is different to vaccines in that it utilises the innate immune system with the aim of developing COVID-19 protection a few days after dosing. As an ‘easy to use’ first line of defence, it has the potential to reduce COVID-19 infection rates and transmission significantly. The final SPOR-COV product is planned to be straightforward to produce at high volumes and at low cost. Additional attributes are that it could be stockpiled almost indefinitely without the need for cold chain refrigeration as it is a very stable product. It could be made available globally as a cost-effective measure in the fight against COVID-19 as well as new COVID strains and other respiratory viral infections.
The pre-clinical efficacy work will be undertaken in collaboration with Professor Aras Kadioglu, at University of Liverpool who is Professor of Bacterial Pathogenesis in the Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology & Immunology, where he heads the Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunity group and is a leading expert in respiratory infection models and host immunity to infection. The manufacturing and formulation development work will be carried out by HURO, an experienced manufacturer of bacterial product formulations based in Vietnam and part of PAN Group. The plan is to complete the required pre-clinical safety and efficacy studies and also develop the manufacturing process in the next 18 months and be ready to commence the first human clinical studies thereafter.
Professor Simon Cutting, Chief Executive of SporeGen, said: “The SPOR-COV platform has already been shown to be effective against pandemic flu by targeting the innate immune system. As such, SPOR-COV potentially has value as a universal system for combatting other viral diseases such as Covid-19. If successful, we foresee a novel approach against Covid-19 and for future, similar pandemics. The SPOR-COV approach, unlike traditional vaccination, focuses on innate immunity and may not be impaired by new mutational variants. A further attribute of SPOR-COV is that it can be produced and stockpiled with ease and does not require a cold-chain. Prima facie our approach is simple and offers a potential new approach in the fight against one of the most serious diseases to afflict mankind”.
Neil Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Destiny Pharma, said: “We are excited to announce the collaboration with SporeGen to co-develop their SPOR-COV product to prevent Covid-19 infections and the concurrent award of significant grant funding from Innovate UK. We are also pleased to be working with Professor Kadioglu at the University of Liverpool who has world class virology expertise. Destiny Pharma is committed to building a novel pipeline targeted at preventing infections and is very pleased to now be working with partners on the SPOR-COV project alongside our existing in-house XF platform. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted powerfully the need for innovation in developing new treatments to prevent and manage both viral and bacterial infections and Destiny Pharma remains committed to developing cost-effective products that meet this medical need”.