Shares in biotechnology company Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS:AIM) more than doubled today to 75p after the company announced a patent application for an inhaler to directly deliver antibodies into the lungs to treat respiratory complications in coronavirus patients.
Following up on the 11 March announcement that Tiziana was moving forward with clinical trials of its TZLS-501 compound for patients that develop a severe and uncontrolled immune response to the virus, it has made a new patent application for a handheld inhaler or nebulizer.
Chairman Gabriele Cerrone explained the importance of a direct delivery mechanism, saying ‘this treatment has the potential to be a long-term therapy to halt progression and reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19, as a proportion of the population may not opt to utilize a vaccine.’
Some patients infected with coronavirus develop an uncontrolled immune response which results in excessive production of certain proteins such as interleukin (IL-6), that causes severe damage to lung tissue.
Early clinical studies in China suggested that antibodies targeted at IL-6, such as Tiziana’s TZLS-501, may be used as an effective treatment. The company believes that delivering antibodies using the newly introduced inhalation technology may ‘rapidly inhibit inflammation in lungs’ and prevent lung damage and death.
The hand-held inhaler could also be used with other FDA-approved (Federal Drug Agency) monoclonal antibody therapeutics, giving it a wider application as more therapies are developed.