Imbed Biosciences Inc., a closely-held biotech that makes a product for pain and infections in complex wounds, says a reformulation of its biggest product as a nasal spray could help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based company says it has developed an antiviral formulation of silver nanoparticles, based on its already U.S. approved Microlyte Matrix wound therapy, which could be used to prevent the early spread of Covid-19. The company hopes to start testing the spray in patients soon.

“We have collected data from an independent viral lab that shows it has efficacy against not only Covid but other viruses such as influenza,” Dr. Michael Schurr, an Asheville, North Carolina surgeon and one of Imbed’s six co-founders, said in a phone interview. The nanoparticles bind with Covid viruses and prevent the molecules from taking over human cells, disrupting the entire pathway for viruses that attack the body’s cells, Schurr added.

Imbed’s nanoparticles were found to inactivate or kill about 99.9% of SARS-Cov-2 viruses in an experimental study run by Virology Research Services of London, according to a report seen by Bloomberg. To be sure, those results came from a study in a controlled lab and have not yet been replicated in a follow-on or human trial.

The nanoparticles could be administered through a nasal spray to prevent the Covid-19 viruses from entering the body. Another way would be as a therapeutic for patients with Covid symptoms or those that have tested positive, the company said.

Studies of small doses of the nanoparticles in animals showed the therapy is safe and doesn’t cause any adverse side effect, according to Imbed Chief Executive Officer Ankit Agarwal.

While the promise of laboratory trials and studies in mice could spark optimism, the path to approval from U.S. regulators will take time. Imbed is still working to get FDA approval to start human studies as soon as possible.

Despite the potential hurdles, Imbed expects the trial will be easy to enroll. The company’s application to start human trials is under review at the FDA after getting a green light from the agency’s “Covid triage team,” it said.

Imbed says it can manufacture more than 100 million units of the silver nanoparticles within three months of FDA approval.

Investors in Imbed include venture capital firm WISC Partners LP; Formidable Asset Management LLC, a hedge fund; the National Science Foundation; and the National Institutes of Health, according to the company’s website.

By Aoyon Ashraf

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