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Tiziana Life Sciences develops inhaler technology designed for rapid delivery of its coronavirus treatment

Proactive Investors Thursday, 9 April 2020
Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA) has developed a handheld inhaler that will allow the rapid delivery of TZLS-501, its drug to treat inflammation of the lung caused by the coronavirus. “The technology, we think, provides immediate relief thanks to the delivery speed,” said chairman Gabriele Cerrone. It has submitted a provisional patent application for the investigational new technology, which could also be used to transport other similar treatments rapidly to the affected areas. Currently, doctors administer life-saving drugs intravenously. Tiziana is at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 infections with its an anti-interleukin-6 receptor (anti-IL6R) monoclonal antibodies that target two proteins that cause the lung inflammation seen in severe cases of the kind that hospitalised Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, its anti-IL6 antibodies differ from those currently on the market in being fully human rather than humanised, which means they are derived from mice. Treatments such as TZLS-501 will be important in the fight against coronavirus as it expected that even if a vaccine is discovered and rolled out, millions may opt against having the inoculation. And, because of the way TZLS-501 works it is likely to be effective if new strains emerge. “The drug works not by treating the virus but attacking inflammation in the lungs - it is attacking the two proteins causing this inflammation. As such, the chances that we will work against another future strain are very high,” Tiziana chairman Cerrone told Proactive. On-the-ground testing in China has revealed anti-IL6R mAbs, currently approved for rheumatoid arthritis, has a role to play in treating patients. So, the country’s National Health Commission has recommended the use of Roche blockbuster, Actemra, for patients infected with COVID-19 with serious lung damage and elevated IL-6 levels. Sanofi’s Kevzara, another FDA-approved anti-IL-6 receptor arthritis therapy, could be used in this setting. Tiziana, meanwhile, is keen to get the drug to patients as soon as it is practicable (and the regulatory timeline will allow). It will administer TZLS-501 using its proprietary formulation technology. It said the features of its drug candidate should provide it with “distinct advantages” other anti-IL-6R mAbs such as Actemra and Kevzara in treating severely affected COVID-19 patients. The aforementioned advantages are TZLS-501’s dual mechanism of action to inhibit signalling by the membrane-bound and soluble IL-6 receptors along with the rapid depletion of circulating IL-6 cytokine, a major cause of lung damage.
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