ENA Respiratory and the COPD Foundation (COPDF) are partnering to develop INNA-051, an antiviral nasal spray to prevent and reduce incidence and severity of respiratory viral infections in people with chronic lung diseases like COPD, according to an organization news release.

According to COPDF, INNA-051 is a potent innate immune TLR2/6 agonist being developed for intranasal delivery to target the primary entry site of viral respiratory infections. INNA-051 works by recruiting innate immune cells and priming epithelial cells of the nasal mucosa to respond more quickly to infections, rapidly eliminating viruses and other pathogens before they spread throughout the body, COPDF says. INNA-051 and close analogues have been shown in preclinical studies to be effective against multiple respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza (H1N1 and seasonal H3N2), and rhinovirus.

In a Phase 1 study, INNA-051 was found to be well-tolerated, and the company expects to release additional data this year, according to a COPDF news release. Phase 2 studies to confirm the pan-antiviral potential of INNA-051 are expected to begin soon and include a randomised COVID-19 post-exposure antiviral prophylaxis study and an influenza challenge pre-exposure prophylaxis study.

“Millions of people are impacted by chronic lung diseases and are at a greater risk of complications from common respiratory illnesses. Our patient community surveys highlight an urgent need for treatments that prevent flare-ups triggered by viral infections, now more than ever. This fast-acting nasal spray could be used before or shortly after virus exposure to help the body respond faster and reduce the chances of complications. We are excited to partner with ENA Respiratory to advance the development of INNA-051,” said Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD, COPD Foundation President & Chief Scientific Officer. “Together, we will leverage our current improved understanding of the role of the lung microbiome and viruses in poor outcomes in COPD, including infectious exacerbations,” she added.