A SCOTTISH biotech company hopes that the arrival of new senior figures will accelerate their development of their Covid-19 drug.
ILC Therapeutics say their leading treatment currently in development is 15 to 20 times more potent at inhibiting the virus that causes Covid in cell culture than other commercially available alternatives.
Known as Alfacyte, the inhaled medicine treats respiratory viral infections and could be “game-changing” in the global fight against not only Covid, but also HIV, hepatitis and the flu.
The firm says their appointments of Dr Robert Boyd and Dr Dawn Firmin will significantly strengthen their capabilities across research, product development and clinical trials.
Appointed vice president of product development, Dr Boyd was previously senior director of preclinical and project management at Oxford-based MiroBio.
Leaving her role as head of clinical operations and regulatory affairs at biopharmaceutical company EnteroBiotix Limited, Dr Firmin brings 13 years of industry experience to her new post as head of technical operations.
Company CEO Dr Alan Walker said of the appointments: “ILC’s success story continues. The expertise of these new senior recruits will be integral to supercharging our capabilities, and with their support we look forward to embarking upon our next development phase which will include our next stage of clinical trials and continued research.”
The expanding corporate structure at ILC is just one indicator of their aim for growth in an increasingly important market both economically and socially.
These senior leadership additions come on the back of a £3.5m investment in what is called a pre-IPO fund, which is invested in late-stage companies looking to list themselves on the public stock exchange in the near future.
The global antiviral market has seen a 13.4% compound annual growth rate, and is expected to be worth $96.5bn over the course of 2022.
ILC’s focus lies with modulating the innate immune system through the design and development of drug candidates which interfere with viral reproduction when our body’s natural defences are evaded.
The company was founded by professor W. H. Stimson FRSE, who established the Department of Immunology at The University of Strathclyde.
Dr Walker added: “When it comes to fighting major viral infections, which continue to pose a major global healthcare threat, this hybrid interferon could be a real breakthrough in how we treat them.”
“This is a pivotal time in not only ILC’s growth, but also in the discovery and development of this new class of synthetic interferon drugs.”