ILC Therapeutics has strengthened its board and management and revealed a pre-IPO funding round to advance its lead novel hybrid interferon drug candidate Alfacyte. 

The Glasgow-based BioTech is a pioneer in the discovery and development of a new class of interferon drugs which ‘interfere’ with viral reproduction and are one of the body’s key defences against all viral pathogens.  

In some cases – including SARS, MERS and COVID-19 – viruses can evade the interferon response by delaying the innate immune response.  

A therapeutic like Alfacyte can offer enhanced interference to COVID-19 replication in the body and activate the body’s own Natural Killer (NK) cells to fight virus infection. It can also reduce ‘off target’ effects and reduce production of cytokine storm mediators which often cause the most severe cases of COVID. 

In vitro testing at the University of St Andrews demonstrated that Alfacyte had many times greater antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 cell culture, the virus which causes COVID-19, than any other available interferons. 

ILC Therapeutics is preparing Alfacyte for human clinical trials. 

The appointments announced are Peter Bains as Non-Executive Chairman, Richard Morgan as a Non-Executive Director and Allan Watson as Chief Financial Officer. 

Dr Magnus Nicholson, Chairman of ILC Therapeutics, will become senior adviser and non-executive director on the board. 

“I am delighted to be part of the ILCT team for the next phase of its development in bringing a novel therapeutic to market,” said Bains.  

Alfacyte has the potential to become an important antiviral treatment in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 in particular.  

It has the potential to treat a wide range of viral and infectious diseases and offers us a significant tool for future pandemics.”