Novel RNAi therapeutics provider Sirnaomics has initiated the research and development of novel RNAi-based therapeutics for the treatment of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), caused by the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The biopharmaceutical firm said that for the development of new prophylactics and RNAi-based therapeutics, it has mobilised its research teams both in the US and China.

The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said that the outbreak of 2019-nCov infection that causes respiratory illness, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has been spreading rapidly.

Also, it has been confirmed that the virus is spreading in between the humans through cases in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and the US.

Sirnaomics president and chief executive officer Patrick Lu said: “RNAi as a naturally evolved antiviral mechanism has been demonstrated in various in vitro and in vivo models. Our team’s in-depth knowledge and experience using RNAi technology to fight respiratory viral infection in the previous SARS outbreak will add on to our antiviral weaponry to fight SARI.

“The unique siRNA drug design and chemical modification, respiratory specific siRNA delivery formulation, and the handheld nebulizer device are providing a clear pathway for developing novel siRNA therapeutics and prophylactics against 2019-nCoV infection.”

Sirnaomics to develop multiple siRNA drug candidates for 2019-nCoV infection

Sirnaomics claimed that its research and development team is experienced in developing prophylactics and treatments for SARS coronavirus, H5N1 influenza and other respiratory viral infections, with multiple animal models including non-human primate, by deploying siRNA prophylactics and therapeutics.

In addition, the team is proficient in siRNA drug design, which silences most of the critical viral genes, respiratory tract siRNA delivery formulation, large scale GMP drug production and clinical investigations.

Sirnaomics said that its research team has already identified potent siRNAs, which target the crucial genes for the viral infection and replication, to combat the SARI symptoms.

The company intends to develop multiple siRNA drug candidates, through a partnership with laboratories equipped with cell culture models of 2019-nCoV infection.

Sirnaomics chief scientific officer David Evans said: “The process of developing siRNA therapeutics offers the advantage of rapid identification of druggable targets that could potentially impact the 2019-nCoV virus.

“Our R&D team is well positioned to contribute to developing a solution and potentially bring valuable treatment options to patients with this high unmet medical need.”