Syntekabio-Hanmi Science, Develop ‘Inhalation-type Treatment for COVID-19’


Syntekabio, an artificial intelligence (AI) based new drug development company, is developing an inhalation type treatment for COVID-19 with Hanmi Science, a holding company of Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group. The two candidates for COVID-19, which Syntekabio discovered through a drug re-creation method, will be combined with the inhalation drug manufacturing infrastructure of Hanmi Pharmaceutical. It will promote the commercialization of drugs in the form of respiratory inhalation rather than eating.

According to the industry (on September 17), Syntekabio and Hanmi Science signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for developing the re-created candidates for COVID-19 drugs on September 16. As it is still in the MOU stage, there can be additional reviews for full-scale development. The two companies plan to collaborate on clinical trials for the COVID-19 drug candidates and production of inhalers.

As they are derived by reanalyzing the effects of previously approved drugs, Syntekabio's COVID-19 drug candidates have the advantage of confirmed safety for minimal human administration. Once the therapeutic effect is confirmed, it can be developed faster than a new drug.

In particular, both companies plan to commercialize this therapeutic candidate in inhalation formulation. Above all, as the drugs are directly released into the lungs rather than being absorbed through the digestive system, they may have strong and rapid effects.

Currently, patients with asthma or chronic obstructive respiratory disease (COPD) use powder type drug with a specific inhaler. The same method is applied to this inhalation-type drug. Quegen Biotech will take charge of manufacturing the drug in powder form while Hanmi Pharmaceuticals possessing related technologies will take the production.

Hanmi Pharmaceutical has developed its own powder inhalation type drug for asthma and COPD, 'Fluterol', and has patents related to inhalers and GMP certified production facilities. After a powder capsule containing drug components is mounted on this inhalation device, the inhaler makes a certain amount of the drug enter the lungs.

Developing inhalation type drugs for COVID-19 is a global trend. Gilead, a multinational pharmaceutical company, is also developing ‘Remdesivir’, a standard treatment for COVID-19, as an inhalation type. It can improve the convenience and the treatment of inflammation in the lungs caused by COVID-19.

Animal experiment showed that the efficacy of Syntekabio’s COVID-19 drug candidates is better than the one of Remdesivir, which raises expectations. Co-administration of two candidates for COVID-19-induced animal model has 94.3% treatment effect.

On the other hand, Remdesivir was shown to have 44.3% the treatment effect in this experiment. The two candidates of Syntekabio are existing drugs whose patents are expired. In the future clinical trials, the two ingredients are expected to be combined and loaded into the inhaler.

As the candidates are previously approves products, they will skip phase 1 and proceed to phase 2 clinical trial for confirming the dosage. No serious side effect has been found in the animal experiments conducted so far.

The companies’ officials said: "The animal experiments show that it has a higher effect than Remdesivir. We think that it will have sufficient market competitiveness in the future, if it is developed as an inhalation type. We are seeing its potential."

Source: news1