New Technologies Arise to Help Prevent the Spread of Disease

|Sep 22|magazine32 min read

- FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to increasing awareness amongst consumers on hygiene and preventive healthcare, the global surface disinfectant market is anticipated to grow significantly in the coming years. The current pandemic has caused major changes, disrupting healthcare systems all over the world, with hospitals being overwhelmed due to the increasing number of patients. MarketsandMarkets indicates that most chemical disinfectants currently available in the market have toxic properties. For example, sodium hypochlorite is an effective treatment against blood-borne pathogens but is also highly corrosive and a respiratory irritant, which makes it dangerous to cleaning personnel and building occupants, damaging to many surfaces, and toxic when released into the environment. On the other hand, a new segment has come into play, the UV disinfection equipment market. According to Grand View Research, the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched UV Blaster, which is useful for disinfecting high-tech surfaces and areas with a large flow of people, such as airports, hotels, offices, metros, shopping malls, and factories. Its ease of installation and low maintenance, supervision, and space requirements have also led to the growing demand for this technology. In addition, the equipment also provides improved safety, minimum service time, and low sensitivity to pH and temperature variations compared to traditional disinfection technologies, such as chlorination. Optec International, Inc. (OTC: OPTI), Relief Therapeutics Holding AG (OTC: RLFTF), Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: TNXP), Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTNP), Novan, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVN)

More generally, the current pandemic has prompted biotech companies to work on vaccines and possible treatments while medical device companies progress on patient monitoring and many others have been working on improving testing options. Earlier this summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that although our world has changed, the fundamental pillars of the response have not: political leadership, and informing, engaging and listening to communities. "Keep your distance from others, clean your hands, avoid crowded and enclosed areas, and wear a mask where recommended. Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they're not, cases go up," WHO explains. Responses from businesses were plenty as well. Several biotechs, as well as medical device companies, have made announcements that vaccines are being developed or testing kits are in production. 

Optec International, Inc. (OTC: OPTI) announced today breaking news that, "the Company now has a suite of air purification products that effectively kills 99.99% of virus, bacteria, germs, and other harmful contaminants based on SGS testing (the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company). Specifically, the Optec Hydroxyl Air Sterilizer is safe to use while children and adults are in the same room or vehicle and utilizes OH radicals triggered by built in UVC light to transform virus proteins, thereby decomposing bacteria and viruses. It is a safe, quiet, and fast sterilizer for airborne, surface and materials sterilization that is perfectly suited for both the home and office spaces. 

Additionally, the OPTEC Rovers 1, 2, and 3 use medical grade UV technology to sterilize 1,000 sq. ft., 2,000 sq. ft., and 3,000 sq. ft. spaces respectively. The Rover 1 is an ideal soliton for classrooms and hospital rooms between 500-1,000 sq. ft, and the Rovers 3 and 4 are the perfect sterilization solution for larger spaces such as warehouses, gyms, auditoriums, conference areas  and more.

These products are especially critical in light of the recent spike in reported cases in large gathering areas including college campus's across the country. The CDC's updated guidance generates a new level of severity when it comes to air sterilization. Optec has already been providing companies, schools, police departments and countries with its UV-C sterilization products and is primed for wider distribution given the increased demand.

Optec International, Inc.'s CEO, Roger Pawson stated, 'We have recognized for quite some time the world's need for effective air purification systems and are happy to be able to provide a sophisticated, non-toxic solution to help keep people safe. While masks will continue to remain paramount to all of our safety, additional measures will need to be taken to ensure clean air within enclosed spaces. Our Rover and Hydroxyl Air Purifier products truly meet the critical need at this time.'"

Relief Therapeutics Holding AG (OTCQB: RLFTF) and NeuroRx, Inc. announced yesterday the completion of their partnership agreement for the commercialization of RLF-100™ (Aviptadil) worldwide. The two organizations have agreed to share all profits from sales of RLF-100 for all indications related to COVID-19 and potentially other respiratory indications on a global basis. They have agreed that NeuroRx will lead commercialization in the United States, Canada, and Israel, while Relief will lead commercialization in Europe and the rest of the world. Profits from sales will be allocated to Relief and NeuroRx on a 50/50 basis in the U.S., Canada and Israel, 85/15 (in favor of Relief) in Europe, and 80/20 (in favor of Relief) in all other territories. Raghuram (Ram) Selvaraju, Chairman of the Board of Relief, said: "We are pleased to reach this agreement with NeuroRx, a partner we believe is best suited to ensure rapid clinical development as well as timely and expedient interaction with regulatory authorities in what is likely to be the most important market for the drug, the United States. We are looking forward to collaboratively and productively working together in order to maximize the value of the overall franchise for our shareholders and get this potentially life-saving drug to patients as swiftly as possible."

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: TNXP) announced last week that the first patient was enrolled in the observational COV-LOGIC study (TNX-C001), a study of humoral (antibody) and cellular (T cell) immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in volunteers who have recovered or remain asymptomatic after exposure to COVID-19.  The research is part of an ongoing and broader collaboration between Tonix and Southern Research to develop and conduct animal testing of Tonix's TNX-1800, which is a live replicating, attenuated virus vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19. "This represents a significant milestone for the Company as the data we plan to collect from recovered and asymptomatic COVID-19 volunteers in this study will help inform vaccine development on how to safely provide the same immune responses that others got from recovering from actual SARS-CoV-2 infection," said Seth Lederman, M.D., President and CEO of Tonix.  "Our goal with TNX-1800 is to develop a vaccine that is well tolerated, produces strong, long-lasting immunity, and can be rapidly and broadly deployed.  The features of a protective immune response to SARS-CoV-2 remain unknown.  But since SARS-CoV-2 is a virus, we believe that T cell responses, in particular T Helper Type 1, or TH1 responses, will play an important, if not dominant, role in protecting against serious illness from COVID-19."

Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTNP) announced back in June that it had entered into a co-promotion partnership with Indegene Inc. to establish multichannel digital marketing programs throughout the United States and expand the capabilities for the engagement of health care providers ("HCPs") who are eligible to prescribe Titan's Probuphine® (buprenorphine) implant. "This partnership with Indegene further strengthens and expands our Probuphine commercial operations, especially with the COVID-19-related restrictions that have limited in-person HCP outreach capabilities," said Titan's President and CEO, Sunil Bhonsle. "Indegene brings a wealth of business expertise and experience in the digital arena working globally with large and small pharmaceutical companies that is invaluable in today's changing environment. This partnership accelerates the expansion of our capabilities to potentially achieve our goals and enable access to Probuphine for eligible patients suffering from OUD, especially at a time when a six-month maintenance treatment option could be very important in minimizing frequent direct contact."

Novan, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVN) reported last month a priority pipeline update. In addition to focusing its primary efforts toward SB206, its lead product candidate for molluscum, the Company is also directing pre-IND development activities toward the ongoing in vitro work related to coronaviridae, as well as exploring the potential of its NITRICIL™ platform technology for use in an antimicrobial indication for companion animal health. "Over the course of the past few months, we have dedicated time and efforts evaluating our internal pipeline of late-stage assets, our broader dermatology platform and underlying NITRICIL™ technology. These components represent what we believe to be a solid foundation to build momentum and support Novan's next phase of growth," commented Paula Brown Stafford, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novan. "We are focused on successfully executing our pivotal Phase 3 study of SB206 for the treatment of molluscum, which is now underway and dosing patients, and are pleased with the progress our team has continued to make in this important program."

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