Pneumagen commits to clinical trial development for Covid-19
Pneumagen (Holdings) Ltd, which focuses on treating infectious diseases by targeting the human glycome, today announced a £4 million investment to allow the clinical development of Neumifil for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. Pneumagen is a spin-out company of the University of St Andrews.
The investment was led by Thairm Bio (Thairm) with additional investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB). The investment will progress its lead candidate, Neumifil™ into a clinical trial for Covid-19.
Neumifil is a first-in-class Carbohydrate Binding Module (mCBMs) generated using the company’s proprietary GlycoTarge™ platform. It is being developed for the universal treatment of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) caused by Influenza Virus and Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and now coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19.
Neumifil has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of RTIs, providing patients with total protection against respiratory pathogens, including emerging viruses with pandemic potential.
The investment follows exciting data from pre-clinical studies in Covid-19 using plaque reduction assays. The testing conducted at Public Health England’s (PHE) Porton facility, and from the University of Glasgow’s MRC Centre for Virus Research, demonstrated efficacy in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results from this work were announced on 28 April 2020.
Douglas Thomson, CEO of Pneumagen, said: “I am delighted that Thairm has chosen to support our ambitious development programme to test the efficacy of Neumifil against Covid-19 in humans, planned in the first half of 2021. The continued support from the Scottish Investment Bank will ensure that this is achieved and will further support Neumifil as a universal drug for RTIs that now includes Covid-19.”
Mark Bamforth at Thairm, said “We are pleased to be able to back the development of Pneumagen’s exciting portfolio in respiratory tract infections. We believe that this approach could provide particular benefit as a protection pan-viral treatment for RTIs, including pandemic viruses such as Covid-19.”
Kerry Sharp, Director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Scientists globally are working around the clock to halt the spread of Covid-19. It could take several months or even years for a vaccine to be approved, so the development of effective treatments is crucial.
“The positive results of Pneumagen’s early studies are an encouraging step forward. With our continued support, we hope the company can develop a drug that will help protect people from the current pandemic and any future outbreaks.”
Pneumagen is a spin-out from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and has access to world-class scientific expertise and capabilities in glycobiology.
The company is using its platform technology, GlycoTarge, to develop glycan targeted carbohydrate-binding module domains (mCBMs) derived from bacterial glycosidases as a new universal therapeutic modality for the prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections (RTIs). These engineered mCBMs have been shown to prevent and treat respiratory infections by binding to epithelial cell surface glycan receptors present in the respiratory tract, used by several pathogens for entry.
Pneumagen’s lead product, Neumifil, is a first-in-class mCBM40 being developed for the universal treatment of Influenza Virus (IFV), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and coronavirus Covid-19 infections. When administered intranasally in preclinical models, Neumifil has demonstrated prevention, treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis of IFV and RSV infection.
The company recently established a separate entity, Omideon, to focus on the development and commercialisation of CBMs for cancer.
Thairm Bio is a Trust that invests in early-stage life science companies which show promise in developing breakthrough treatments for diseases with the potential to make a major improvement to patients’ lives.
About the Scottish Investment Bank
The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
SIB’s activities support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital and loan funding. SIB helps ambitious Scottish companies get the right levels of funding from the right sources at the right time through building relationships with both domestic and international investors.
SIB manages a suite of co-investment funds, including the Scottish Co-investment Fund, the Scottish Venture Fund and the Energy Investment Fund, on behalf of the Scottish Government. SIB is an investor in Epidarex Capital’s Life Sciences Fund and administer the Scottish Loan Scheme, with funding secured from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Growth Scheme.
SIB also provides funding into LendingCrowd, Scotland’s marketplace lender providing loans to SMEs, and Maven's UK Regional Buy Out Fund (MBO) that offers financial support for management buyouts (MBOs) and helps existing management teams acquire their businesses from their owners so they can continue to flourish. SIB’s team of financial readiness specialists help companies to prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance.