SK bioscience, IAVI hope to create nasal spray to prevent virus infections
SK bioscience teamed up with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the University of Washington to work on developing a nasal spray that they hope will help prevent people from contracting the Covid-19 virus, the Korean company said Wednesday.
The development will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. SK bioscience will initially receive $2.2 million to be used toward the discovery of candidate compounds and conducting preclinical trials.
The nasal spray is intended to quickly and conveniently block infection in a situation where a respiratory virus is rapidly spreading. When sprayed into the nose, protein particles bind together to create a protective layer inside the upper respiratory tract to prevent the virus from penetrating into the body, and it may alleviate symptoms of an already established infection by disrupting the virus’ ability to replicate, SK bioscience said.
SK bioscience anticipates that the spray could contribute to slowing down the spread of a newly emerged respiratory virus such as Covid-19 even before vaccines and treatments are developed.
Nasal spray-type pharmaceuticals can be stored under normal refrigeration conditions, so manufacturing and distribution are relatively easy. They can be administered multiple times as multi-dose formulations.
SK bioscience will work with David Baker, the head of the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) at the University of Washington. Baker is a globally recognized researcher who has published over 500 papers and has over 100 patents related to protein design research. SK previously worked with the IPD when developing GBP510, its Covid-19 vaccine candidate that is currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials globally.
“If we secure differentiated antiviral prevention and treatment from this research, it could be possible to quickly respond to continuously evolving respiratory viruses,” said Ahn Jae-yong, CEO of SK bioscience. “Our efforts to develop new medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening infectious viruses are leading to various international cooperation, and, through this, SK bioscience will leap forward as a global pharmaceutical company.”
BY SARAH CHEA [email@example.com]