RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – KNOW Bio, a biotech backed by SAS cofounder and CEO Jim Goodnight, says it has demonstrated the “first definitive evidence” that nitric oxide can fight the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The findings come as the search continues for a vaccine and other means to fight the deadly pandemic.
Led by chair and CEO Neal Hunter, who once led Durham-based tech firm Cree, KNOW Bio is a conglomerate of various ventures.
“There are millions of lives being disrupted and hundreds of thousands lost to this frightening virus,” Hunter said in a statement. “Our findings clearly show that nitric oxide-based therapeutics must be a part of any well-thought response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The company said nitric oxide (NO) “can inhibit viral reproduction of SARS-CoV-2.”
“We are the first to confirm the potent biological activity of nitric oxide against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” Hunter added. “As a leader in the development of NO-based therapies, we felt we were best positioned to establish that NO is effective against this virus.”
KNOW Bio, a spinoff from drug firm Novan, landed a $30 million in investment capital from Reedy Creek Investments, the investment arm of Goodnight, in 2019. KNOW was created in 2015 as a spinoff from Novan which included that firm’s non-dermatological assets. Reedy Creek also is a backer of Novan.
Novan has focused on NO development.
In 2017, KNOW raised $2.6 million from 49 investors. It added another $4.68 million in 2018.
About the NO use, KNOW explained:
“These milestone in-vitro experiments were conducted by testing multiple nitric oxide-releasing compounds against wild type SARS-CoV-2 virus at an independent laboratory with a deep history of antiviral research. Therapeutic doses (<200 µM) were applied to infected VERO E6 cells and showed a dose-dependent effect on viral replication. The result was a greater than 99.9% reduction in virus observed after 24 hours versus virus observed on untreated cells. Furthermore, there was no cytotoxic impact (cell damage or cell death) on uninfected cells.”
KNOW pointed out that “previous reports have only speculated on the potential of nitric oxide to serve as a therapeutic for patients with COVID-19 or as a preventative countermeasure for those who are at risk of exposure to the virus.”
Mark Schoenfisch Chief Scientific Officer, added: “The expansive literature supporting nitric oxide’s function as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, shows that nitric oxide-based approaches can play a role in preventing, limiting, and/or treating the pulmonary consequences of COVID-19.”
KNOW said its findings are expected to be submitted for publication and peer review later this year.
“There are millions of lives being disrupted and hundreds of thousands lost to this frightening virus,” Hunter continued. “Our findings clearly show that nitric oxide-based therapeutics must be a part of any well-thought response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire