Since the beginning of this week buy side traders have been very active on Tiziana Life Sciences (LON:TILS) (NASDAQ:TLSA), the biotech company which is working on a treatment for coronavirus that could, if successful, end up being used as a nasal spray instead of an injection.
The fairly novel approach involves Foralumab, a treatment that the company initially started developing for Chron’s disease with the idea of making it for oral use. However, when the pandemic hit, Tiziana Life Sciences adjusted the idea to make it a nasal spray, a cheaper and more accessible treatment than other drugs in the same category. The concept of Foralumab is to activate nasal mucosal immunity to fight against the virus in the respiratory tract and lungs.
The company’s share price perked up this week after Tiziana Life Sciences announced that it had completed clinical trials in Brazil which were designed as proof of concept and were meant to show the treatment’s efficacy. The biotech firm has yet to analyse top line data and release final results but that could happen in the relatively near future as Tiziana plans to delist from AIM on 21 January and list on the main London Stock Exchange.
The rich pipeline of the biotech company’s development includes treatment and diagnostics of major diseases including diabetes and cancer, some of which are being spun off into separate firms. For instance, its fairly promising breast cancer diagnostic test StemPrintER is now being developed by Accustem Sciences, a company spun off from Tiziana in October last year. The company’s chairman Gabriele Cerrone planned on listing Accustem Sciences in London at the end of last year, followed by a dual Nasdaq listing in the first quarter of 2021, but those plans have since been derailed, at least the first part of them.
At the time when the decision was announced, Cerrone said that the value of StemPrintER for investors was diluted in the ample pipeline of Tiziana Life Sciences’ therapeutics and that it merited a stand-alone financial vehicle that would focus exclusively on the commercialisation of the diagnostic test.
Monoclonal antibody market is worth billions of dollars
Foralumab, the drug that has just completed clinical trials in Brazil, is a human monoclonal antibody. Human monoclonal antibody, the world’s first, is an antibody cloned from a single cell and has proven more successful than a monoclonal antibody developed from mice, which the human body rejects more frequently. The monoclonal antibody market is worth multiple billions of dollars as it can be used to treat not only COVID and Chron’s disease but also diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other major illnesses. A successful drug in this space, particularly one that can be used fairly easily in form of a nasal spray, would have massive first mover advantage.
Tiziana plans a second set of trials on Foralumab but this time in the form of capsules that can be taken home and used to threat Chron’s disease. It will collaborate with Parexel International, a Massachusetts-based company that provides contract biopharmaceutical research.
It is interesting that tests were carried out in Brazil where the scientific community has been particularly active in looking for COVID solutions. The virus spread like wildfire in the country raising the total number of cases to just short of 8 million, the third highest on the planet. Local scientists have created a coalition initiative that includes 70 health and research centres around the country conducting 11 randomised clinical trials, including those for the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and for a version of the Chinese vaccine. The discovery that dexamethasone helps patients with severe cases of COVID-19 was made in Brazil, and the evidence that hydroxychloroquine, a drug touted by Donald Trump, did not benefit mild-to-moderate cases was also a result of Brazilian research.
Further information about the state of its pipeline could be provided on 18 January when the company will publish its prospectus ahead of its first trading day on the London Stock Exchange on 21 January.