Destiny Pharma has entered into a collaboration agreement with fellow British biotech company SporeGen to co-develop the latter’s SPOR-COV product as a novel, preventive treatment for COVID-19.
The parties will share any costs and commercial returns from SPOR-COV and plan to complete a pre-clinical programme with the aim of being ready to enter the first human clinical trials within 18 months.
Destiny Pharma’s expertise in pre-clinical and clinical drug development will be combined with SporeGen’s world leading understanding of Bacillus bacterial spores to progress the SPOR‑COV project.
The SPOR‑COV product consists of a proprietary formulation of Bacillus bacteria that will be administered nasally as a spray.
SPOR-COV has already been shown by SporeGen to provide complete (100%) protection in preclinical models of influenza virus. SporeGen has IP protection supporting the SPOR‑COV approach and this will be expanded during the project.
It 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.
Innovate UK has awarded the company’s an £800,000 grant to fund the majority of the £1 million cost of the initial SPOR-COV programme.
The preclinical 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.