Seattle, WA, May 11, 2023 – Lumen Bioscience, “Lumen,” a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing biologic drugs for highly prevalent diseases, today announced a new $8.1 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to develop and test a prototype broad-spectrum, fast-acting intranasal powder for treatment and prevention of known and emerging viral respiratory infections.
The contract was awarded by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) under its “Project Panacea” and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense’s (JPEO-CBRND) Joint Project Manager for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Medical (JPM CBRN Medical), under its Vaccine Acceleration by Modular Progression program.
“New treatment methods are needed to protect warfighters from current and emerging viral threats,” said COL Matthew G. Clark, Joint Project Manager for CBRN Medical. “This approach offers the opportunity to develop a fast-acting treatment that is highly scalable and easy to store and transport.”
The funding will support development and testing of intranasal host-directed therapeutic using Lumen’s low-cost, highly scalable cGMP production platform and novel formulation technology. The therapeutic is a human immune signaling protein known to be especially important in the body’s immune response to respiratory viral infections like influenza. Human clinical trials by other groups have shown that therapeutic when injected was safe and effective against COVID-19 and other diseases. Animal experiments by other researchers show that intranasal dosing may be a safe and effective approach for both treating and preventing influenza and COVID-19. The new Lumen project unites these two lines of research as well as testing other CBRN threats of interest. The project will yield a prototype shelf-stable, inexpensive, self-administered product candidate ready for human trials.
“This therapeutic has demonstrated efficacy in treating vaccinated COVID-19 subjects and shows promise in both treating and preventing other respiratory viral infections like influenza, but the current injection formulation limits stability, increases costs, and impedes distribution and administration,” said project lead scientist Craig Behnke, Lumen’s EVP, Production and Development. “This product has the potential to be an important new option for influenza and COVID-19 patients—especially those with more limited access to healthcare services—and a valuable new tool in America’s pandemic preparedness toolkit.”