The Anonymous Widower

Coronavirus: Protein Treatment Trial ‘A Breakthrough’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first three paragraphs of the article.

The preliminary results of a clinical trial suggest a new treatment for Covid-19 reduces the number of patients needing intensive care, according to the UK company that developed it.

The treatment from Southampton-based biotech Synairgen uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it gets a viral infection.

The protein is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus, using a nebuliser, in the hope that it will stimulate an immune response.

I first heard of Synairgen about five months ago, when I read about the company in the Sunday Times. It was only a few words, but it did say, that they were developing an inhaled beta interferon for use by Covid-19 patients or those with lung problems.

I should say, that I know about inhaled pharmaceuticals. Not because, I’ve ever used any, but because I funded the development of a very successful metered-dose inhaler for asthma drugs.

Two inventors; Stephen Dunne and Terry Weston came to me looking for finance to complete the development of an aerosol value, that instead of using CFCs or HCFCs as a propellant, used purified air. In fact it was pure nitrogen, but the average user of a deodorant or fly-spray doesn’t know that nitrogen is a constituent of air and thinks it’s posionous.

We formed a company called Dunne Miller Weston or DMW.

It was a technical success and the company’s MP; John Gummer, took details of the breakthrough to the conference that resulted in the Montreal Protocol.

The device and the associated patents were sold to Johnson & Johnson.

The two inventors had other ideas and one was for a metered dose inhaler for asthma drugs.

I remember that they were able to get a grant from Glaxo to prove the concept of the device.

Because, the full development would need more money, we now had a fourth partner; Mike.

I remember going with Mike to see Glaxo and we were unable to reach agreement on how Glaxo would contribute to the full development. They tended to give out these grants and I got the impression, that ours was one of the first to get a positive result and they didn’t know how to handle it.

But, it didn’t matter, as we were able to raise the funding from elsewhere and develop a successful device.

This was sold to Boehringer Ingelheim for a lot of money and all investors were very satisfied. Their product name is Respimat.

Glaxo carried on using an HCFC device.

I earned a reasonable about of money from my investment, but I also learned a lot about pharmaceuticals.

  • At the time, New Zealand had the highest level of asthma inhaler use in the world.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are very conservative.
  • Doctors tend to give out inhalers like toys.
  • Naked flames are a big cause of asthma.

But the most important knowledge I acquired was over a drink with an engineer in a pharmaceutical company, that the fine spray we obtained with our device would have lots of medical applications, including delivery of insulin for diabetics. We’d already had very good feedback, from test users in Germany.

Some other applications are stored in my brain. One could be a very big seller in the modern world!

So when I saw the report in The Sunday Times, I bought a few shares in Synairgen.

I have been well-rewarded today!

 

 

July 20, 2020 - Posted by | Business, Health | ,

1 Comment »

  1. I saw the article on BBC, and I agree it is a sensible and efficient idea. Especially for people who have lines and cannulas and suchlike in a lot of part of their body, to be able to inhale the drugs. I am on a lot of strong pain medication, and to be able to inhale a little puff of that every hour or so would be better than waiting 6 hours between doses. And insulin inhalers sound a great idea – for children and the elderly especially. I don’t need insulin, in fact I am on very little medication for my diabetes, and the bit I am on needs to be lowered.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | July 21, 2020 | Reply


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