Shares in Synairgen (LON:SNG) jumped on Tuesday after the UK-based biotech company announced it had commenced trails for a COVID-19 treatment.

The AIM listed company had begun trials for SNG001 which is an inhaled formulation of interferon-beta-1a, a protein impacted by COVID-19.

Interferon beta is a naturally occurring protein which drives the body’s natural antiviral responses.

The trial will initially involve 100 patients in a double blind test using a placebo.

Following the announcement, shares in Synairgen rose by 11% to 69p, valuing the company at £83 million.

Synairgen treatment

Evidence has shown a deficiency in Interferon beta production by the lung could be responsible for the severe lung problems COVID-19 patients are suffering.

Synairgen highlighted in a release that this was what made COVID-19 so dangerous for older people, those with diabetes and existing lung or heart problems.

The Synairgen treatment will help promote the bodie’s own immune system by promoting natural production of this protein.

Synairgen’s trial will commence in on trail site initially run by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. There will be a further six sites commencing trial doses shortly.

Richard Marsden, CEO of Synairgen, commented:

“We are delighted to get this trial underway with the dosing of the first patient. The team has worked tirelessly and intensively with the relevant authorities and collaborators to get to this stage, and we now look forward to recruiting more patients and completing the trial as soon as possible. A successful outcome from this trial in COVID-19 patients would be a very important step towards a major breakthrough in the fight against this coronavirus pandemic.”

Synairgen have recently raised £14 million through a heavily oversubscribed placing of 40,000,000 shares to fund further expansion of their trials and research.

Synairgen is one of a number of UK-listed companies and hundreds globally that offer promise in the fight against COVID-19.

Novacyt has spear headed the UK effort to improve testing and has begun trails with Public Health England.

However, Synairgen offers a different proposition in a treatment for COVID-19, which if successful would be monumental for patient recovery rates.

Needless to say this would be a multi-billion pound development for Synairgen and could see shares at many multiples of current levels.