ENA Respiratory launches trial of COVID-19 preventative nasal spray

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Australian company ENA Respiratory has launched a phase one clinical trial of its investigate nasal spray for the prevention of COVID-19.

The company said its INNA-051 activates a person’s immunity in the nose, the primary entry portal of most respiratory viral infections.

INNA-051 is a fast-acting and convenient nasal spray that could be used prior to, or shortly after, exposure to a virus, prompting the body to respond faster to protect patients from illness and reduce the chance of community spread.  

"It reduced COVID-19 replication by up to 96 per cent in a gold-standard, peer-reviewed pre-clinical study performed by Public Health England," said the company, which is seeking 100 healthy people in Sydney to participate in its human safety study that it hopes to complete by the end of September.

“Sydneysiders need no reminder of the continued threat COVID-19 poses to our way of life and participating in this clinical study is a way to contribute to the global fight against the pandemic,” said Dr Charlotte Lemech, principal investigator on the ENA Respiratory study and medical director at Scientia Clinical Research in Sydney.

“Despite the challenges of the current lockdown in Sydney, we have put in place additional safety procedures and our trial is continuing. We are seeking the support of any healthy adults aged 18 – 55 years to participate. We have dosed a number of cohorts so far and they are tolerating the therapy well.”

“Vaccines have been slowing the spread of COVID-19 in a number of countries, but the world remains at risk with the emergence of variants with increased transmissibility, such as the Delta variant, first discovered in India. Being agnostic to specific virus or viral variants is one of the potential key strengths of INNA-051,” said Dr Christophe Demaison, co-founder and CEO of ENA Respiratory.

“As we continue to combat current and emerging COVID-19 variants, there is a significant need for convenient therapies that boost protection in at-risk populations, such as the elderly, and those with known COVID risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. By stimulating the innate immune response, we hope to create an additional line of defense against COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections.”

“As a broad-spectrum therapy, INNA-051 could be used in reducing illness associated with other common respiratory viruses, such as flu or common cold that circulate annually” said Dr Chris Smith, chairman of ENA Respiratory. “The easy-to-use nasal spray could be helpful in protecting at-risk populations, such as the elderly or patients with chronic respiratory diseases.”

ENA Respiratory recently secured a $32 million investment from life science investor, Brandon Capital Partners and leading philanthropic organisation, Minderoo Foundation, with co-investment from Australian university venture fund, Uniseed, to support the clinical development of INNA-051.