Industry-Sponsored Research Week

U of St. Andrews and ILC Therapeutics enter research partnership to fight COVID-19

By David Schwartz
Published: June 30th, 2020

The University of St. Andrews and UK-based biotechnology firm ILC Therapeutics have entered a research partnership they hope will move a therapeutic for treating COVID-19 towards clinical trials.

The biotech start-up is working with the university’s Dr Catherine Adamson from the School of Biology, specifically looking at the role that it existing drug Alfacyte™ can play in preventing COVID-19-induced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Preventing the onset of ARDS could reduce the need for many patients to be on a ventilator and could potentially limit both short and long-term damage to patients’ lungs.

Alfacyte™ is a drug based on a new Interferon Alpha subtype, Interferon Alpha 14, which is the most potent antiviral interferon in existence and requires very small doses for treatment. While Interferon Alpha 2 has already been used by others around the world to treat certain COVID-19 patients, ILC believes that Interferon Alpha 14 could be much more effective in the prevention of ARDS.

Adamson, who specializes in virology and the development of antiviral drugs, spent many years working for the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) HIV Drug Resistance Program, and she has studied the role that interferons play in viral diseases and their subsequent treatment options. In the ILC-sponsored study, Adamson will examine the effectiveness of Alfacyte™ in preventing COVID-19 viral replication in cultured human cells — a key step on the pathway to clinical trials.

“We are delighted to be working with the University of St. Andrews to develop our research and work as quickly as possible to bring this potential treatment option to those who need it,” said William Stimson, ILC Therapeutics founder and chief scientific officer. “Dr Adamson’s work in the field of virology is highly respected, and to have her backing in our research for Alfacyte™ is invaluable as we progress towards eventual clinical trials.”

I welcome the opportunity to work with ILC Therapeutics to carry out further research into the part interferons play in the innate immune system’s ability to fight COVID-19,” Adamson stated “By exploring this in more detail, we can hopefully move closer to having viable treatment options in the coming years.”

Source: News Medical

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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