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UK Covid-19 drug developer welcomes NHS treatment priority

publication date: Feb 5, 2021
author/source: ILC Therapeutics



A UK biotech company developing a novel treatment for Covid-19 has welcomed NHS plans to make Covid-19 treatments available to patients as soon as possible.

The CEO of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, recently highlighted the importance of therapeutic treatments to help the UK return to a more normal way of life, predicting that many of these treatments will be available to Covid-19 patients in 6 – 18 months.

ILC Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Scotland, is currently developing a synthetic Interferon which has shown great promise against Covid-19 in laboratory testing and will enter clinical trials later this year.  It will be the first synthetic Interferon based on the most prominent activities of the natural Interferons.

The Company believes that its synthetic Interferon, called Alfacyte™, will have the potential to prevent Covid-19 hospitalisation in the vast majority of cases by boosting the immune response and preventing the virus from replicating in the body. 

Laboratory testing last year showed that Alfacyte™ is at least 20 times more effective than any other therapeutic Interferon in the market. 

Alan Walker, CEO of ILC Therapeutics, welcomed Sir Simon Stevens’ position on treatments, stating: “The vaccine roll out in the UK has been going extremely well and it will play an important role not only in preventing people getting the virus but also in providing therapeutic options that can treat the viral infection. 

“A strong therapeutic, such as the synthetic Interferons we are developing, will have the potential to prevent hospitalisations and severe illness. This can change the entire complexion of how we fight this virus and enable us to ease social restrictions which have a high cost on society and the economy.

“Most importantly, like the vaccines, it will potentially save many thousands of lives and will be a vital addition to our healthcare armoury, not just against Covid-19 but any viral disease outbreaks in the future.”

ILC Therapeutics is one of two British companies hoping to bring therapeutic Interferons to patients. Its synthetic Interferon Alfacyte™ will enter clinical trials later this year.


About ILC Therapeutics

ILC Therapeutics Ltd is an early stage biotechnology company focused on modulating the Innate Immune System through the development of novel peptide therapeutics for the treatment of Cancer, Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis and Allergic Asthma amongst other conditions. More recently however, ILC Therapeutics has discovered that its ongoing research has potential to treat COVID-19.

Interest in NK cell therapy is exploding and NK cells are a type of Innate Lymphoid Cell 1 (ILC-1) modulated by alpha interferons. ILC Therapeutics Ltd.’s hybrid, patented interferon alpha has been shown to have a powerful stimulatory effect on NK cells and this is critical to maintaining NK cell activity inside tumours where the cancer is trying to switch them off and escape destruction. ILC Therapeutics’ Hybrid 1 has shown modulatory effects on tissue based ILC-2 networks (Atopic Dermatitis) and ILC-3 networks associated with Psoriasis. This work has now been re-focused to study the effects of interferon alpha on COVID-19.

The company was founded by Prof. W. H. Stimson FRSE, who was the founder of the Department of Immunology at The University of Strathclyde. Bill has been involved in eight start-up/spin-out biotech companies. He has been a long-term consultant to five multinational companies including Akzo Nobel, Rhone-Poulenc and Johnson & Johnson. Bill has published 216 scientific papers and 46 patents and was involved in the use of the first human monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy.


Learn more about ILC Therapeutics




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