Funding will develop inhaled therapies using ICOone Nasal in preparation for the next pandemic

Iconovo has revealed that it has received a grant of $883,800 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a low-cost device that can enable the delivery of medical compounds to the full respiratory tract.

The work will be undertaken in the next couple of years and aims to establish a fast-track for inhaled therapies that will facilitate improved global healthcare provision, primarily in low- and middle-income countries, in the event of a new virus pandemic.

For this first phase of the project, covered by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, Iconovo will  develop models, perform characterisation work and invest in laboratory equipment to optimise its ICOone Nasal inhaler for inhaled treatment of viral infections in the airways.

The inhaler will be designed to work with both traditional carrier-based and spray-dried formulations. Furthermore, the manufacturing process will meet the international quality requirements for good manufacturing practice.

The aim of the project is to develop a nasal inhaler that can be rapidly upscaled for industrial manufacturing to produce millions of inhalers at the highest standard. Inhalation therapy offers a flexible and targeted treatment of diseases in the airways and is distributed to its target without affecting other organs or tissues.

Meanwhile, treatments using ICOone have a low manufacturing cost, can be transported without cold chain and can replace injections, which will make new effective and crucial medicines available in regions with limited economic resources and less developed infrastructure. Iconovo will, with support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, work on a joint mission to help people across the globe to gain access to crucial medicines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of making medicines and vaccines for airway infections available both widely and quickly. When the next pandemic strikes, or if the current one endures, there should be an inhaler in place that allows for fast, cost-effective development and simplified global distribution of new inhaled treatments,” explained says Johan Wäborg, chief executive officer of Iconovo.

“There is great inequality in the distribution of medicines across the globe today and we can be part of changing that with our ICOone platform. We are happy and proud that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given us the opportunity to take a lead in this important work," he added.