SporeGen® Announces Collaboration with Destiny Pharma Supported by an Innovate UK grant award to Co-develop Novel, Preventative Treatment for COVID-19

  • September 08, 2020
  • SporeGen

SporeGen Limited (“SporeGen”) has entered into a collaboration agreement with Destiny Pharma plc (“Destiny Pharma”), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel, hospital infection prevention treatments that address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), to co-develop SporeGen’s SPOR-COV product as a novel, preventive treatment for COVID-19.

Under the agreement, 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. SporeGen’s world leading understanding of Bacillus bacterial spores will be combined with Destiny Pharma’s expertise in pre-clinical and clinical drug development to progress the SPOR‑COVproject.

The SPOR‑COV product consists of a proprietary formulation of Bacillus bacteria that will be administered nasally as a spray. SPOR-COVhas 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.

SPOR-COVis 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-COVproduct 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.

£800,000 grant from Innovate UK (IUK) to support SPOR-COVpreclinical programme

SporeGen and Destiny Pharma are also very pleased to announce that IUK has awarded a grant of £800,000 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.

Dr. 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".

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UKRI Ideas to Address COVID-19

This UKRI (United Kingdom Research and Innovation) competition opened in March 2020 as a call for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak across areas within UKRI's remit.