Shares at British biotechnology firm Synairgen (LON:SNG) have surged more than 7% after the launch of its new large-scale Covid-19 treatment trial.

The Southampton-based company treated its first patient at Hull Royal Infirmary on Tuesday afternoon, using the newly-developed formulation SNG001, which involves the inhalation of a naturally-occurring protein named interferon beta which is believed to jumpstart the body’s antiviral response.

The trial – called SG018 – is being conducted across 20 countries and requires 610 Covid-19 participants who receive supplemental oxygen. Early findings released in June 2020 suggested that SNG001 can cut the risk of a patient becoming severely ill (requiring ventilation or resulting in death) by almost 80% compared to those who received a placebo.

Synairgen is also running an ongoing Phase II trial of SNG001 in non-hospitalised “at risk” COVID-19 patients. A course of treatment costs about £2,000.

“We need treatments as well as vaccines to fight highly pathogenic viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Development of treatments like ours will remain necessary in cases where vaccines are not effective, for those who do not get vaccinated, and in case the virus mutates to the point where vaccines become less effective,” said Richard Marsden, Chief Executive Officer of Synairgen.

“We believe this trial presents an opportunity for a significant UK scientific breakthrough and, if given the right support, our drug could rapidly assist with the global crisis,” he added.

There is still a bit of a catch though: “To be viable it will have to represent good value for money”.

Synairgen shareholders will be pleased with the stock’s performance on Wednesday morning nonetheless, as shares hiked 7.14% to 165.00p as of 10:15 GMT.

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Bronte Carvalho
Junior Journalist at the UK Investor Magazine. Focuses primarily on finance and business content. Has personal interests in Middle Eastern politics, human rights issues, and sustainability initiatives.