Local drug developer re-shuffles pipeline mid-sprint
All pharmaceutical developers have a pipeline of likely looking drug-candidates. The pipeline ensures that the drugs in it go through the steps from bright idea to approved medicine in an orderly and cost-conscious running order. Changing the running order needs a very good reason. For Copenhagen Science City-based pharmaceutical development start-up Hyamedix, Covid 19 became that reason.
Two good drugs outpaced by Covid combatant
In early 2020 Hyamedix had two drugs in their pipeline. One to reduce pain and inflammation of arthritic joints. Another to combat a leading cause of post -operative chronic pain. Both drugs were, and are, attracting investors and big pharma collaborators. Both were, and are, moving nicely towards approval. For Hyamedix CEO Todd Kenworth things were looking golden, but he then realized that his technology could battle Covid 19, so he upended his pipeline.
Covid usually starts in the nose. We realized that our technology is perfect for a drug that fights the virus before it spreads to the lungs. Our drug activates the natural immune system in the nasal cavity. This prevents the virus from spreading to the respiratory tract and lungs. If virus never reaches the lungs, the Covid outcome is much more benign”: Todd Kenworth, CEO, Hyamedix
Patented snot perfect vehicle for medicine
Hyamedix base their remedies on a patented method to modify hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance. In the body, it keeps our skin elastic and lubricates our eyes and joints. A Hyamidix modification transforms it into a slow-release mechanism for drugs that would otherwise be inefficient or toxic. It is also eminently suited for keeping the medicine in place in the nose with a consistency like egg-white or, well, snot.
Our hyaluronic acid modification will keep the drug in place in the nasal cavity, but you need to get it in there fast to be really efficient. I envision our nasal spray as something you keep in your house. As soon as you get a positive test for Covid, or a friend or family member is infected, you should spray yourself. We believe this will be an efficient early stage therapeutic. We also believe it will prove effective against future virus variants and mutations”: Todd Kenworth, CEO, Hyamedix
Accelerated trial programme
After just 6 months in development, Hyamedix is now ready to test their drug in humans for the first time. Parallel to their “First-In-Man” studies the company is preparing phase 2 and 3 clinical testing in India. Regrettably, patients are still easy to find there. If all goes well, Kenworth expects his medicine to hit pharmacy and clinic shelves by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
This highly accelerated development is possible for two reasons. First, our drug is extremely relevant because it can also help patients who cannot or will not have a vaccination. Second: Because it is a combination of two existing, approved and commonly used products we need to jump fewer regulatory hurdles to get approval”: Todd Kenworth, CEO, Hyamedix
Meeting co-creators over coffee
Hyamedix is located in the start-up community COBIS, which is a Copenhagen Science City-partner. Kenworth decided on the location, because COBIS is fitted with laboratories for short-term rent, so he did not have to commit scarce start-up resources to build his own from scratch. Nonetheless, the human factor may keep him here for longer than he planned.
This is a great place for building a network for our business. We are constantly meeting new co-creators here. Our modified hyaluronic acid can combine with a wide variety of drugs and some of our next joint ventures will probably come out of meetings over coffee in the community”: Todd Kenworth, CEO, Hyamedix.