Open Orphan company successfully completes nasal spray study

Prophylactic spray could be used against Covid-19

Drug development company PrEP Biopharm said it has successfully completed a toxicology study for a potential prophylactic nasal spray that could be used against respiratory viruses such as Covid-19.

The animal model study provides safety data needed to move the pan-viral asset PrEP-001 into longer duration dosing in clinical studies.

The company, which is 62.6 per cent owned by Dublin-listed Open Orphan, said the next step was a real-world field trial to validate the efficacy of the treatment against all circulating respiratory viruses, including Covid-19, influenza and the common cold.

PrEP-001 is a synthetic RNA “viral mimic” that stimulates the body’s immune response locally in the upper respiratory tract and stops viruses in the upper respiratory tract. The once-daily nasal spray could be used as a stand-alone pan-viral prophylaxis or as an adjuvant for certain vaccines targeting specific respiratory viruses.


‘Ultimate goal’

"It is very encouraging to note PrEP Biopharm's progress towards the ultimate goal of validating the effectiveness of their one dosage nasal spray for key respiratory viruses like Covid-19, flu and the common cold," said Cathal Friel, executive chairman of Open Orphan. "This safety data allows them to move into Phase 2b field studies and we are very excited that PrEP-001 could play a meaningful role in the current Covid-19 pandemic and future potential pandemics caused by new respiratory viruses."

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist