Swim Dad’s Anti-COVID-19 Nasal Spray Market Bound After Birmingham Biotech Signs Licensing Deal With University of Birmingham

2021-11-09 Reading Time: 3 minutes

The anti-COVID nasal spray developed by swim dad and professor Liam Grover and Dr Richard Moakes, business partners in Biomaterials Science at the University of Birmingham, has taken a big step towards market after Birmingham Biotech Ltd and the University signed a licensing agreement to commercialise the treatment.

The deal with Birmingham Biotech, an innovator in diagnostic tests, protective nasal sprays and mobile medical facilities, comes a year after SOS broke the news of the innovation developed by Professor Grover, who runs the Healthcare Technologies Institute and whose daughter swims for the Wyre Forest Swimming Club, and Dr Richard Moakes.

Sole researchers on the nasal spray project, Prof Grover and Dr. Moakes co-authored a study into the product they developed as patents were being registered for innovative aspects of the spray. SOS spoke exclusively to Prof. Grover at the time.

The University of Birmingham revealed the agreement today and noted: “COVID-19 is both contracted and transmitted by inhalation of droplets or aerosols containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the nose is the major viral entry point into the body, making it an ideal target for approaches designed to reduce person-to-person transmission.

“The formulation was engineered by Professor Liam Grover, from the University’s Healthcare Technologies Institute, and a team of researchers who also collaborated on its testing.”

Through the University, Professor Grover said:

“As COVID-19 restrictions around the world are gradually lifting, there is a real need for effective methods of viral protection. While existing measures like wearing masks and handwashing remain essential, this nasal spray provides an additional protective measure with the potential to reduce transmission. We are thrilled to be working with Birmingham Biotech to bring the anti-viral nasal spray to individuals around the world.” 

Prof. Liam Grover. Image – the spray explained, courtesy of the University of Birmingham

Michael Hsu, Managing Director at Birmingham Biotech, noted: “We are delighted to enter into a partnership with the University of Birmingham and to be able to work together with its world-leading academic researchers, to advance medical innovations. We have a shared commitment to bring our proprietary anti-COVID-19 nasal spray to as many people as possible at an affordable price, focusing on developing markets with the greatest need.”

The University of Birmingham explains:

The anti-viral spray is designed to work by encapsulating and deactivating the virus while it is still in the nose, preventing its wider uptake by the body. It is formulated with two compounds that are already approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US and widely used in medical devices, medicines, and food products.

Each of these compounds performs specific functions. The first is a polysaccharide gel which can ‘plume’ rather than ‘jet spray’ when applied with a typical nasal spray applicator and is retained on the mucous-coated epithelia in the nose where it coats and retains the virus, so it does not travel further down the respiratory tract. The second compound is a potent antiviral agent called carrageenan.

The Birmingham researchers confirmed the complete inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 activity provided by carrageenan and the ability of the formulation to prevent contraction and transmission in cell culture and confirmed that the spray covers a surface area that is six times greater than when formulated without the gel.  

The licensing agreement covers the entire duration of the patents and gives Birmingham Biotech exclusive rights to market and sell the anti-viral nasal spray worldwide, except for India. Further to the licensing agreement, Birmingham Biotech plans to establish a joint venture with the University of Birmingham to commercialise new products based on intellectual property and technical knowledge from the university.

In the future, the two parties plan to co-develop other innovative products and technologies, such as COVID-19 throat sprays and nasal sprays targeted to protect individuals from other viruses. The anti-COVID-19 nasal spray is expected to be available in the UK and Asia in early 2022.

The Folk Behind The Spray

The Healthcare Technologies Institute, led by Professor Liam Grover, brings together leading experts from a variety of disciplines across the University of Birmingham, including chemical engineering, biomedical science, computer science, applied mathematics, chemistry and physics. Researchers across campus are working collaboratively to speed up the translation of new discoveries into health applications. The research will support the development of existing markets and stimulate new ones for Life Sciences businesses, enabling them to bring products to market quickly, at less cost with reduced risk.

Birmingham Biotech is an innovator in diagnostic tests and protective nasal and throat sprays for COVID-19 and other medical conditions with an urgent, unmet need. In partnership with the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Biotech is committed to ensuring that patients in developing countries have access to the latest high-quality, affordable healthcare delivered through its rapid global supply chain. Birmingham Biotech is trusted by governments and healthcare providers around the world as a one-stop-shop for tests, equipment and consumables approved and recognised by international regulators.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.

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