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Virus hopes

Fife Covid drug developer raises £4m for further tests

Nasal spray

Tests are being carried out on the drug

A Fife medical company has raised £4 million to allow the clinical development of Neumifil, an antiviral drug to tackle the coronavirus.

The investment into Pneumagen, a spin-out from the University of St Andrews, was led by Thairm Bio with additional funding from the Scottish Investment Bank.

As reported by Daily Business last month Neumifil is used as a nasal spray to treat flu, and could play a big part in the treatment of victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

The investment follows encouraging data from pre-clinical studies. The testing conducted at Public Health England’s Porton facility, and from the University of Glasgow’s MRC Centre for Virus Research, demonstrated efficacy in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results from this work were announced on the 28 April.

Douglas Thomson, CEO of Pneumagen, said: “I am delighted that Thairm has chosen to support our ambitious development programme to test the efficacy of Neumifil against COVID-19 in humans, planned in the first half of 2021.

“The continued support from the Scottish Investment Bank will ensure that this is achieved and will further support Neumifil as a universal drug for RTIs that now includes COVID-19.”

Mark Bamforth at Thairm, said “We are pleased to be able to back the development of Pneumagen’s exciting portfolio in respiratory tract infections. We believe that this approach could provide particular benefit as a protection pan-viral treatment for RTIs including pandemic viruses, such as COVID-19.”

Kerry Sharp, Director, Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Scientists globally are working around the clock to halt the spread of COVID-19. It could take several months or even years for a vaccine to be approved, so the development of effective treatments is crucial.

“The positive results of Pneumagen’s early studies are an encouraging step forward. With our continued support, we hope the company can develop a drug that will help protect people from the current pandemic and any future outbreaks.”

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