BetterLife Pharma Inc. (“BetterLife” or the “Company”) (CSE: BETR / OTCQB: BETRF / FRA:NPAU ), an emerging biotech company focused on the development and commercialization of inhaled antiviral therapy against COVID-19 and emerging viral infections, is pleased to announce early positive in vitro results from Dr. Stephen Barr’s Laboratory at the state-of-the-art ImPaKT Facility at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, Ontario.
Early data of BetterLife’s recombinant human interferon alpha-2b (rhIFN⍺2b) show potent anti-viral activity against the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant (up to 97% protection in human cells infected with the virus).
The Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant (B.1.617.2, India outbreak) causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus and leads to more severe illness in unvaccinated people (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], Sept 2021). Previously, BetterLife’s rhIFN⍺2b showed potent activity against the Wuhan reference strain, Alpha (B.1.1.7, UK), and the Beta (B.1.351, South Africa) variants. Further studies are ongoing to validate these preliminary results and to test rhIFN⍺2b activity against Gamma (Brazil), Lambda (Peru), and the recent C.1.2 (South Africa) variant which contains mutations associated with increased transmissibility and the ability to evade antibodies therapy.
“The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is now the most common COVID-19 variant in the U.S., nearly two times as contagious as earlier variants, a great risk to unvaccinated people, and presents a challenge in developing therapeutics against the virus,” said Ahmad Doroudian, CEO of BetterLife. “We are very pleased to see the early preclinical data confirming the high anti-viral activity of BetterLife’s rhIFN⍺2b against this variant of concern.”
An exploratory study in Wuhan, China, in COVID-19 patients, showed that patients treated with inhaled rhIFN⍺2b had a more rapid rate of viral clearance than patients in the comparator arm who did not receive inhaled rhIFN⍺2b. As announced in BetterLife’s press release on September 22, 2021, BetterLife and the Escuela de Medicina at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile have initiated a Phase 1-2 randomized placebo controlled trial (“IN2COVID”; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04988217) in COVID-19 patients in Chile. The trial tests BetterLife’s proprietary inhaled rhIFN⍺2b product, AP-003, versus placebo in early stage COVID-19 patients (<5 days of diagnosis of COVID-19).
Dr. Doroudian further commented, “COVID-19 is very much still a threat to the global population and its variants are a key challenge when developing therapeutics to protect against it. The broad mechanism of action of interferon is such that our scientists hypothesized it could be equally effective against different variants of concern. We are very pleased to see this being confirmed by early preclinical data which takes us one step closer to the potential outcome of an easy to administer broad acting treatment for early stage COVID-19.”
About BetterLife Pharma
BetterLife Pharma Inc. is an emerging biotechnology company engaged in the development and commercialization of next generation psychedelic products for the treatment of mental disorders. Utilizing drug delivery platform technologies, BetterLife is also refining and developing drug candidates from a broad set of complementary interferon-based technologies which have the potential to engage the immune system to fight virus infections, such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and human papillomavirus.
For further information, please visit www.abetterlifepharma.com.
About Western University, Dr. Stephen Barr Laboratory
Dr. Stephen Barr, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. His research focuses on the complex virus-host interactions of emerging viral pathogens, with a focus on the host interferon response. His team studies Containment Level 2 and Level 3 viruses such as HIV, Ebola-like viruses, and SARS-CoV-2, in the new state-of-the-art ImPaKT Facility featuring barrier-enclosed imaging scanners and instrumentation. This high-tech equipment allows Dr. Barr and his team to develop tools and methods to better understand the progression of emerging infectious diseases (in vitro and in vivo), identify/test novel antiviral agents, develop diagnostic reagents to characterize hidden reservoirs of pathogens, and for the early and accurate detection of infections. Dr. Barr is also part of Canada’s Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net), whose goal is to rapidly answer critical and immediate questions regarding SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as their increased transmissibility, likelihood to cause severe cases of COVID-19, and resistance to vaccines.
For more information, please visit the Barr Lab (https://publish.uwo.ca/~sbarr9/) and CoVaRR-Net (https://covarrnet.ca).
Ahmad Doroudian , Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Stephen Barr, Associate Professor
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