Nobel laureate takes aim at coronavirus in Canada

Nobel Laureate Prof Ferid Murad addressing the OurCrowd Summit in Jerusalem (Courtesy)

Treatment against COVID-19 developed by OurCrowd company SaNOtize passes lab tests, approved for Phase II clinical trials

Canada emerged front and center in the fight against the coronavirus on Wednesday as Health Canada approved Phase II clinical trials for a nitric oxide treatment shown to be 99% effective against COVID-19 developed by SaNOtize, an OurCrowd portfolio company based in Vancouver.

SaNOtize hopes to get emergency approval to deploy its virus-killing gelspray and liquid in Canada and the US for frontline healthcare workers and other high-risk groups. The product kills the virus as it settles in the nose and throat before it can incubate and damage the lungs.

Laboratory tests on SaNOtize’s antiviral prevention and early treatment conducted by the Institute for Antiviral Research at Utah State University confirm SaNOtize’s Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution (NORS) inactivated more than 99.9% of SARs-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within two minutes. The success of the tests at Utah State puts SaNOtize is in a unique position to immediately test its formulations against corona and other viral strains.

Chris Miller and Gilly Regev of SaNOtize tell OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved that their treatment can protect frontline medical staff against coronavirus

The announcement from SaNOtize comes in the same week that OurCrowd announced it is leading a $12 million round for MigVax, an Israeli-based company that hopes to begin clinical trials on a COVID-19 vaccine by the summer.

Nitric oxide carries messages between cells that communicate “like an internet system in your body,” Dr Ferid Murad, 1998 Nobel Prize winner in medicine and a SaNOtize board member, told the OurCrowd Summit in February.

Nobel Laureate Ferid Murad and SaNOtize CEO Gilly Regev explain the science behind the coronavirus-killing treatment

“Nitric oxide is an incredibly versatile molecule that regulates almost everything in our body,” Dr Murad said. “When used therapeutically, it has a well-documented safety profile and is demonstrated to be effective against a wide variety of viruses, bacteria and fungi.  I’m excited to be working with the SaNOtize team and believe that they have a safe technology that could be effective in treating infections, including COVID-19.”

Scientists believe the coronavirus is transmitted via airborne droplets to the mucous membranes in the nose, where it is replicated during a three-day incubation period, damaging the nasal mucosa cells, and then carried in nasal secretions to the lower respiratory tract, leading to the danger of fatal viral pneumonia.

A SaNOtize gel will kill the virus on the patient’s hands, while application of a nasal spray and liquid lavage each morning and evening should help prevent the accumulation of the virus inside the respiratory system during the initial incubation period, preventing its spread to the lungs and the onset of pneumonia.

Recent research published in Nature suggests that the nose and throat are the primary infection areas especially in the early period of the infection.

Disinfecting

“Everybody just thinks you get the virus, and it gets into your lungs, and you die, but it’s a progression,” said Dr Chris Miller, Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder of SaNOtize. “First of all, get exposed to it, and it sticks in your nose and in your upper airway, and it takes a while to incubate, and then it goes in the back of your throat, and then the virus will shed into your lungs.”

“What we envision is catching or disinfecting the upper area at various points in the day. In the morning when you get up, where the virus has shed and started collecting in the back of your throat, we have a gargle, and then you go out into the day, and you can’t control social distancing like in normal times, and so we have a nasal spray,” Dr Miller said. “At the end of the day you come home and you basically lavage your nose and your nasopharynx, and so that will clean your nose, your sinuses, and the back of your throat where these viruses initially reside.”

“If our Phase II results confirm our earlier work, including the very encouraging results just received from the Antiviral Research Institute, we will be seeking emergency approval in Canada to proceed directly to Phase IV introduction of our product to the market as part of the global fight against this deadly pandemic. At the same time, we are seeking Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA so that we can make NORS available to healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals in the US on an expedited basis,” he said.

OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved hosts a webinar on the latest anti-coronavirus tech being developed by OurCrowd companies

SaNOtize is in discussions with suppliers and potential partners to rapidly scale up production of NORS in North America once regulatory approval is granted. NORS is formulated from readily available ingredients from multiple sources. High volume scale-up could be done rapidly in an extremely cost-effective manner. Shelf-life and stability have been determined to be one year in the appropriate container.

“Our goal has long been to find a way to use nitric oxide’s anti-infective properties to improve human health,” said Dr Gilly Regev, SaNOtize CEO and co-founder. “We are working around the clock to achieve that goal in time to help with the fight against COVID-19.”

SaNOtize and MigVax are just two of the investments that OurCrowd is making as we address the global coronavirus pandemic by deploying our worldwide network of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to power the technology and research that can carry us beyond this crisis.

Lab tests show SaNOtize kills 99% of coronavirus in just a few minutes

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About the Author
Jonathan Medved is the founder and CEO of OurCrowd, the world’s leading global equity crowdfunding platform. Medved is a serial entrepreneur and investor, according to the Washington Post “one of Israel’s leading high tech venture capitalists.” In 2015 Medved was named one of the “50 most influential Jews.” He invested in almost 200 startups, helping to bring 15 of them to values in excess of $100M. Exits include: Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay), Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN), Answers.com (Nasdaq: ANSW, acquired by Summit), Cyota (acquired by RSA/CA), Finjan (Nasdaq: FNJN), Mobile Access (acquired by Corning), Tradeum (acquired by VerticalNet), Native Networks (acquired by Alcatel), Broadlight (acquired by Broadcom), Xacct (acquired by Amdocs), Business Layers (acquired by CA), Xtellus (acquired by Oclaro), and Digital Fuel (acquired by VMWare). Between 2006-2012, Medved was the co-founder and CEO of Vringo and led the company to a successful IPO on the NYSE. Medved is a frequent guest and commentator on U.S. and Global TV: PBS, CNN, CNBC, BNN, Bloomberg, CBN, CBC, BBC, ReutersTV, CCTV.
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