Synairgen PLC (LON:SNG) chief executive Richard Marsden said positive results from a clinical trial of its drug to tackle the severe symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) “could signal a major breakthrough in the treatment of hospitalised patients”.
People who received SNG001, an inhaled formulation of interferon beta, had a 79% lower risk of developing severe disease compared to those given the placebo, the data revealed.
They were also more than twice as likely to recover from the illness than those receiving the substance with no therapeutic value.
“Our efforts are now focused on working with the regulators and other key groups to progress this potential COVID-19 treatment as rapidly as possible,” Marsden said in a statement.
A total of 101 people took part in the clinical assessment at nine sites between March 30 and May 27.
Trial chief delighted
It was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which meant one group received SNG001, and the others did not.
Trial chief investigator, Professor Tom Wilkinson, said he was “delighted” by the results produced and hailed the “momentous coordinated effort” from Synairgen, the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which collaborated on the research.
"The results confirm our belief that interferon beta, a widely known drug that, by injection, has been approved for use in a number of other indications, has huge potential as an inhaled drug to be able to restore the lung’s immune response, enhancing protection, accelerating recovery and countering the impact of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” he added.
Synairgen shares skyrocketed 541% to 230.6p by lunchtime on Monday.
Mark Brewer, analyst at broker finnCap, increased his price target to 360p, which implies 886% ‘upside’ from Friday’s close of 36.5p.
He added that quantifying the coronavirus opportunity was “nigh on impossible” as he admitted the valuation “could go substantially higher”.
What happens next will depend on the “upcoming discussions with regulators, which should clarify the route to market and the potential for buying SNG001 ahead of the winter 2020 flu season and the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19”.
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