Inhalon Biopharma Receives $7 Million from USAMRDC to Study Inhaled “Muco-Trapping” Antibody for the Treatment of COVID-19
Human Studies to Start Mid-2021, Topline Results Expected in 2022
Durham, North Carolina, May 26, 2021—Inhalon Biopharma, a start-up immunotherapy company developing an inhaled “muco-trapping” antibody platform for treating a variety of acute respiratory infections (ARI), today announced that it has been awarded a $7 million contract by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command (USAMRDC) to conduct a placebo-controlled Phase 1/2a study of IN-006 in COVID-19 outpatients. IN-006 is a potent, neutralizing monoclonal antibody being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19. Initial results of this study are expected in 2022.
The Inhalon muco-trapping antibody platform directly traps the virus in airway mucus, preventing the local spread of the infection, and quickly eliminating the virus from the lungs through the body’s natural ability to clear mucus. Inhaled therapy can be readily self-administered by patients, extends critical drug supplies to more patients and does not place excessive demands on healthcare staff and infusion clinic space that IV drugs do.
“Inhalon’s unique ‘muco-trapping’ inhaled antibody platform is ideally suited to quickly halt the COVID-19 infection by concentrating antibody therapy in the respiratory tract where the virus proliferates,” said John Whelan, president and chief executive officer, Inhalon Biopharma. “We are very pleased that USAMRDC has seen the potential in our breakthrough approach and chose to support our clinical studies, which we look forward to initiating this summer following productive discussions with the FDA.”
“The USAMRDC assessed the merits of Inhalon’s novel technology and planned study as outstanding,” said William Howell, president, Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium. “We believe that Inhalon’s inhaled therapy offers many attractive benefits for patients and the healthcare system that are not available with intravenous or other systemically-dosed treatments.”
The Inhalon inhaled antibody platform can fight a broad range of ARIs that currently have no treatments. In addition to the Phase 1/2a COVID-19 trial, Inhalon has preclinical programs for the treatment of the top two respiratory infections leading to hospitalization, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and metapneumovirus (MPV).
ARIs affect large, vulnerable populations, especially young children, the elderly and immunocompromised patients. Today there are no effective treatments for a wide range of ARIs that can lead to hospitalization, long-term health complications and sometimes death. These infections are the starting point for serious illnesses like bronchiolitis and pneumonia and can exacerbate underlying conditions like COPD and congestive heart failure.
About Inhalon’s “Muco-Trapping” Immunotherapy Platform
Although mucus in the lung airways is designed to protect the body from infections, pathogens have evolved to move easily to infect cells in the airways through mucus. Inhalon’s breakthrough discovery enables inhaled antibodies to trap pathogens in mucus. These trapped pathogens are unable to spread or infect cells and are rapidly eliminated by normal mucus clearance in minutes – swept into the digestive tract where they are killed by stomach acid and can do no further damage. The muco-trapping technology was pioneered by Prof. Sam Lai of the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and licensed exclusively from UNC and Johns Hopkins University.
Inhalon Biopharma is a start-up immunotherapy company developing an inhaled antibody platform for treating a variety of acute respiratory infections. Inhalon’s intellectual property includes an approved US and EU patent covering the composition of aerosolized muco-trapping antibodies. Inhalon is supported by Breakout Labs and angel investor syndicates led by Life Science Angels and others, including, Band of Angels, Sandhill Angels, Berkeley Catalyst Fund, as well as several federal contracts.
The Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves those who serve our nation. Over the last decades, our warfighters have suffered devastating trauma. In partnership with the Department of Defense and private support, MTEC is working to prevent injuries and accelerate the development of revolutionary medical solutions that will enhance wound healing and return the wounded to fully functioning lives. Ultimately, all citizens will benefit from these technologies and health care solutions. To find out more about MTEC, visit mtec-sc.org.