NEWS | BEAM Alliance


Destiny Pharma and SporeGen® announce update from research collaboration under Innovate UK grant award to develop a biotherapeutic treatment (SPOR-COV®) for COVID-19 and Influenza

  • Positive results from testing SPOR-COV in several COVID-19 and influenza research models support potential as prophylactic nasal spray
  • Toxicology studies support safety profile
  • Manufacturing process established
  • Manufacturing and regional licensing agreement signed with HURO Biotech JSC for Vietnam
  • Phase 1 clinical studies completed successfully in Vietnam by HURO
  • Retail product based on SPOR COV technology launched in Vietnam by HURO
  • Partners reviewing options for next stage in development of SPOR-COV

Brighton, United Kingdom – 2nd May 2023 – Destiny Pharma plc (AIM: DEST), a clinical stage innovative biotechnology company focused on the development of novel medicines that can prevent life-threatening infections, today announces very encouraging results from its collaboration with SporeGen Limited (“SporeGen”), a UK biotechnology company working exclusively on Bacillus and its applications. The collaboration has been partly funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) since September 2020 to co-develop SporeGen’s SPOR-COV product as a novel, preventive treatment for COVID-19, influenza and potentially other similar respiratory viral infections.

The study results support the original hypothesis that SPOR-COV nasal spray can rapidly stimulate an immune response that primes the human immune system against influenza and coronavirus type viral threats such as COVID-19. As a stable, bacterial formulation presented as a nasal spray, SPOR COV is straightforward to produce in bulk, negates the need for a cold chain, has the potential to be stockpiled for ‘pandemic preparedness’ and can be used across the world instead of, or alongside, existing vaccines. Destiny Pharma and SporeGen are excited by the results of these research studies and are now planning future studies and seeking partners for the next stage of development.

Under the UKRI grant award the parties have completed several research and development studies working with Professor Aras Kadioglu at the University of Liverpool and contract research organisations. The data from these studies show:
-Prophylaxis of COVID-19 observed in SARS‑CoV‑2 preclinical challenge models.
-Significant reduction in signs and symptoms of influenza across multiple preclinical models, including a gold-standard model of influenza infection in “Vaccines” journal (James et al., 2022). -Studies were conducted across several investigative sites.
-SPOR-COV nasal spray use as a potential adjunct/booster to existing vaccines is supported by preliminary immunological research.
-Technical development programme lead by HURO has been successful and enabled a scalable manufacturing process for GMP material.
-GLP preclinical safety studies successfully completed and therapeutic window supportive of clinical development defined.

Destiny Pharma and SporeGen are also pleased to have extended the existing collaboration with HURO, an experienced manufacturer of bacterial product formulations based in Vietnam and part of the PAN Group. HURO now have non-exclusive manufacturing rights to supply future SPOR-COV product and also have exclusive rights to commercialise SPOR-COV in Vietnam. In return, HURO will develop the manufacturing process under GMP-WHO standards and is carrying out other research and development activities in Vietnam, including human clinical tolerability studies, which are being shared with SporeGen and Destiny Pharma under the strategic agreement.

HURO have also recently launched “SPEROMED”, a nasal spray healthcare retail product that is based on the SPOR-COV technology designed in Vietnam and is marketed under Vietnamese regulations. Destiny Pharma and SporeGen will receive royalties on sales.

The parties are continuing to review the very positive and exciting results generated by the grant funded collaboration and are planning the next steps for the SPOR-COV programme including the possibility of the first human studies in Europe/USA. The strategy is to seek additional partners to collaborate on the continuing development and commercialisation of SPOR-COV outside of Vietnam.

Dr Simon Cutting, Chief Executive Officer of SporeGen, said: “These data validate the SPOR-COV platform’s effectiveness against multiple pandemic strains of flu and emerging SARS‑CoV‑2 ‘variants of concern’ by targeting the innate immune system. The SPOR-COV approach, unlike traditional vaccination, has been shown to not be impaired by new mutational variants. We are very pleased with these data and the potential benefit to patients and are very excited at the prospect of further development of the SPOR-COV platform.”

Neil Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Destiny Pharma, said: “This Innovate UK funded research project has delivered some very exciting data and we are now discussing next steps with our partners. There is still a clear need for better pandemic preparedness for viral infections such as COVID-19 and influenza and the SPOR-COV product and the associated technology has great potential to deliver new treatments that are safe, effective, low cost and easy to use.”

Khanh Nguyen, Chairman of HURO Biotech, said: “As a pioneering pharmaceutical company focusing on affordable and sustainable health solutions from probiotics and postbiotics for LMICs, HURO values the opportunity to develop SPOR-COV into an innovative product improving public health in Vietnam. We would like to congratulate SporeGen and Destiny Pharma on the most recent encouraging data of SPOR-COV, which will create a solid foundation for further impact in the future.”

Full Press Release available here.