SpectrumX Holdings Ltd: Does this company have the key to treating COVID-19 and defeating antimicrob

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SpectrumX Holdings Ltd is developing an inhaled respiratory treatment with blockbuster potential and has a commercial product that looks set to generate significant near-term revenues.

It plans is to raise £6mln in pre-IPO and IPO funding and is expected to list on the London Stock Exchange in the third quarter at what it believes is a ‘conservative’ valuation of £50mln.

Cash raised will kick-start the commercial roll-out of Spectricept, the active ingredient of the firm’s non-alcohol-based hand sanitiser which is 300-times stronger than bleach.

It will also be put to use developing SPC-069, shortly to be trialled on COVID-19 patients, but which could also be used to treat a range of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. In this era of antibiotic resistance, this broad-based potential is bound to attract a lot of industry interest.

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Both innovations harness the antimicrobial qualities of a chemical known as hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is produced as a vital component of our bodies immune system to destroy unwanted bacteria and viruses. 

The formulation mimics how humans make HOCl, which in turn provides resilience to contaminants.

The use of HOCl as both a hand sanitiser and combatant for infection emanates from the work of Hoji Alimi, the chairman and chief executive of Collidion Inc. SpectrumX holds licences over the technology granted to the company by Alimi’s Spectrum Antimicrobials, a subsidiary of Collidion.

The imminent UK roll-out of the hand sanitiser could quickly transform the business, generating £9.4mln in revenues this year rising to £43mln next year, then £75mln and £99mln, before hitting £130mln by 2025. These are the company’s own internal projections and may change as the group develops.

However, market testing has revealed there could be strong demand for this next-generation cleanser, which is kinder to the skin than but more effective as alcohol-based solutions.

Gary Davies, medical director of Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust, said the feedback from his staff using SpectrumX’s HOCl product had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

Once up and running, a manufacturing facility in the north-west of England means Spectrum can stop importing product from California, resulting in a sharp fall in costs. It also allows the company to rapidly increase and broaden its base of prospective customers.

Significant potential of SPC-069

The figures quoted earlier are “immediately projected revenues” from the hand sanitiser and ignore the significant potential of SPC-069, the respiratory candidate that will undergo phase II clinical trials in Austria shortly.

The 240 participants in the trial will be put on a 10-day course of the treatment, which means the top-line results from the study should be available reasonably quickly – perhaps six weeks from the start of the evaluation, says Damien Hancox, the chief executive of SpectrumX.

“Anecdotally, we have seen excellent improvements in 72 hours,” he adds.

With this last fact in mind, Hancox and his team are making a submission to the newly formed UK Antiviral Taskforce, which has been set up to find treatments that can be used at home to combat the more extreme effects of COVID-19.

“They [the taskforce] are actively looking; at the moment they’re looking for experimental ingestible treatments because our form of therapy is relatively unknown – and the chemistry completely novel – but we are in touch with the right people,” the SpectrumX CEO adds.

The product has undergone delineation assessment by the HPRA in Europe and been assessed as a medical/pharmaceutical product. This was done via Spectrum’s Irish subsidiary.

“Our ultimate aim is to have our product used as a preventative sold over the counter in a pharmacy, so if your son or your daughter starts getting a cold at school you go to Boots or Superdrug and you buy a nebuliser preloaded with capsules of our solution,” explains Hancox.

Broad application

As mentioned above, the respiratory product is believed to be effective across a broad range of infections from pneumonia and flu to the common cold, which opens up a huge potential marketplace.

“It’s any sort of viral or bacterial infection; anywhere in the airways (upper or lower, respiratory system) we have the same effective mode of action,” Hancox explains. “By being positively non-selective, it makes our respiratory treatment so unique.”

There will be significant early milestones for SpectrumX, including the initial trial data from its phase II study of SPC-069 by the Innsbruck team assessing its potential to treat COVID-19 patients.

Assuming a positive read-out from the trial, it will submit the data in support of a European Medicines Agency emergency use authorisation for its respiratory technology. 

At a practical level, we will also see the fit-out of the Spectricept manufacturing facilities that will quickly lead to the expansion of NHS contracts (and help SpectrumX achieve the sales numbers quoted above).

“We have a rare opportunity to create a significant business very quickly from a standing start,” says CEO Hancox. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

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