Biotechnology company Immune Regulation has signed a teaming agreement with DynPort Vaccine to assess ILR201104 as a potential treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by Covid-19.

Covid-19 infection is characterised by the recruitment of blood cells to the lung, including neutrophils, which are needed to combat the virus.

But, inflammatory molecules generated by neutrophils could cause overwhelming inflammation in high-risk patients, called ARDS, which may lead to dangerously low blood oxygen levels, critical illness and ultimately death.

Immune Regulation group CEO Jonathan Rigby said: We are very pleased to be working on a therapeutic approach that can potentially reduce Covid-19 related ARDS.

“Doing this in partnership with a world class company like DVC, significantly improves our chances of a successful outcome and we are delighted by the prospect.”

In a preclinical model of acute lung inflammation, Immune Regulation’s drug product IRL201104 demonstrated quick and significant decrease in the excessive infiltration of neutrophils in the lungs.

A single dose of the drug candidate was observed to mitigate neutrophil infiltration quickly, as well as maintain this effect for a minimum of 24 hours.

Based on these findings, the company expects a short course of IRL201104 treatment to result in a marked decrease in the numbers of infiltrating neutrophils into the lung.

This could in turn reduce the overwhelming inflammatory response and restore the levels of blood oxygen.

DVC president Gary Nabors said: “Immune Regulation has a unique solution to the problem of ARDS, which is potentially fatal in patients with advanced Covid-19.

“DVC is excited to partner with Immune Regulation to bring ILR201104 to patients who are in need of more effective therapies.”

As part of the teaming agreement, Immune Regulation and DynPort will conduct clinical trials of the drug candidate to treat ARDS in Covid-19 patients in the US.