Senzer Pharmaceuticals has launched a Critical Care Division that will use its expertise in respiratory pharmaceuticals to create targeted anti-viral treatments for COVID-19
The Critical Care Division is working on formulating two specific medicines, with anti-viral properties, to allow them to be inhaled directly into the respiratory tract. Senzer is also in advanced discussions with a leading London Teaching Hospital to undertake a randomised placebo-controlled trial, to explore how the two formulations may reduce the number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care treatment.
The targeted delivery of anti-virals to where the viral load from COVID-19 is heaviest, the respiratory tract, is at the centre of Senzer's Critical Care strategy.
Senzer is using pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDI), as these are already well known to healthcare professionals. Senzer said its supply chain will be able to deliver about 30m doses annually, and these can be sent through its international distributor to any country that may wish to access the investigational therapies for further clinical research.
The targeted delivery of actives through inhalation offers potential advantages over oral intake. Inhalation is easy to administer, assisting early treatment, and may allow a lower dose to be given, reducing unwanted side effects and supporting the safety profile of the products being tested in the forthcoming clinical trial. Senzer's pMDI technology is calibrated to deliver the actives in a larger particle size, ensuring they reside in the lungs, with this route being particularly suitable for topical treatment of lung tissue.
Pressurised inhalation has a strong pedigree of patient acceptance: other inhaled routes, such as dry powder, have known adverse patient reactions, including coughing and the expulsion of actives.
The supply of metered dose inhalers can also be scaled up rapidly to provide millions of doses a year for clinical use, due to their low cost and simple technology.
Senzer's strategy is based on re-formulating approved pharmaceutical medicines, with known safety profiles for other medical conditions. Besides the first two candidate therapies, Senzer's Critical Care division is also currently studying two other pharmaceutical products, which may also have promise as inhaled frontline treatments for COVID-19.
Alex Hearn, CEO of Senzer, said: "When the Covid pandemic struck we quickly realised that our expertise in respiratory pharmaceuticals had specific relevance. We have considerable formulation expertise within the team, as well as an understanding of the regulatory environment, and so are currently 100% focused on deploying all of our requisite skills to ensure we can develop and deliver novel investigational medicines for clinical trial use in the shortest possible time, in order to support the front line medical staff and their patients during this crisis."