There are getting to be more and more coronavirus treatments on the market and various levels of protection.
OPTN stock is moving higher after the company announced what could be a nose spray that kills the coronavirus inside the nose. Imagine squirting this inside your nose, maybe 3 times a day, to prevent yourself from getting the coronavirus. I’m not sure it works that way but it certainly would help in limiting asymptomatic spread of the disease.
On June 30, 2020, Optinose (NASDAQ:OPTN), a pharmaceutical company focused on patients treated by ear, nose and throat (ENT) and allergy specialists, today announced initiation of development of a new product candidate, OPN-019. OPN-019 will combine the Company’s proprietary nasal Exhalation Delivery System (EDS) technology with an antiseptic that has been recently shown in vitro to kill the virus that causes COVID-19.
Because components of the drug-device combination product candidate, including both the active drug and delivery device, are currently commercially available in the U.S., the Company expects to be able to rapidly progress to a meeting with FDA to discuss an IND and then onward to clinical trials. The Company is focused on supporting the initial stages of development within its current operating expense plan and intends to seek grants, partnerships, and/or other sources of capital to fund future development.
“The medical community is still learning about COVID-19, but we think the virus frequently spreads from one person’s upper airways – by coughing, sneezing, or talking for example – to another person’s upper airways, especially the nose. That is why we wear masks and socially distance. Evidence suggests that the virus attaches to certain types of cells in the deep part of the nose, and can multiply for an extended period, often days, before symptoms appear – all the while risking spread to others,“ stated Ramy Mahmoud, M.D., MPH, President and Chief Operating Officer of Optinose. “Recently, this antiseptic has been shown to kill the COVID-19 virus, which leaves the problem of how to coat the deep lining of the nasal cavity with the drug, which is very difficult with standard approaches like nasal sprays. That is where our unique EDS technology comes in. We have demonstrated that an EDS can spread medicine thoroughly in the deep areas of the nasal cavity where the virus appears to be multiplying and shedding. With OPN-019, we want to offer people a safe antiseptic/antiviral combined with an EDS device that enables them to deliver it to surfaces deep in the nasal cavity.”
“Today, someone with or without symptoms who tests positive is often sent home. Our intent is for OPN-019 to offer that person a way to reduce their own risk of disease progression and also help members of their household – or other at-risk people – avoid getting sick at all. It could help fill the gap between vaccines, which are for healthy people to prevent infection, and drugs that are used for very sick people who may have to be hospitalized,” explained Dr. Mahmoud, adding, “We picked an antiseptic/antiviral that has been known for years to kill many viruses. With new third party research showing that it can kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we are excited about the potential for OPN-019 to work against COVID-19. The bottom line is that we aim to give doctors a way to suppress virus multiplication and reduce viral load and the duration of shedding from the upper airways so that we can reduce progression of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic disease, reduce transmission to others, and protect people by giving them post-exposure or high-risk prophylaxis.”
“We are very interested in the potential of this drug-device combination to help combat a public health crisis,” said David A. Gudis, M.D., Chief of the Division of Rhinology and Anterior Skull Base Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at Columbia University, who has no financial relationship with Optinose. “An intervention with potential to reduce virus load, limit replication, and decrease upper airway viral shedding could have enormous implications. I am excited about Optinose’s EDS, which may represent such a weapon in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. As the proposed antiseptic it delivers has been shown to kill not only coronaviruses and influenzae, but also many other viruses, bacteria and even fungi, this intervention may represent a treatment pathway for other upper airway infections in the future as well.”
On June 30, 2020, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brandon Folkes reiterated an Overweight rating and $18 price target on OptiNose after the company announced the initiation of the development of OPN-019, which will combine the nasal exhalation delivery system used in the company’s Xhance with an antiseptic that has been shown in vitro to kill the virus that causes COVID-19. While the company did not specifically name the antiseptic, Folkes noted that there was a study in which povidone-iodine nasal and oral antiseptics were tested and found that such antiseptic solutions are effective at inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus at a variety of concentrations after 60 second exposure times. The analyst added that he views today’s announcement as “very interesting” and believes, if successful, it could provide “significant upside” to expectations for OptiNose.