Scottish biotech company ILC Therapeutics strengthens team to accelerate development of Covid-19 drug

Dr Robert Boyd, vice president of product development at ILC Therapeutics
  • Pioneering biotech company strengthened by senior appointments to bolster capabilities in research, product development and clinical trials.
  • Company ready to accelerate the development of Alfacyte™ – ILC’s lead hybrid interferon designed to combat viral infections including Covid-19.

ILC Therapeutics (ILC), a pioneer in the discovery and development of a ground-breaking class of interferon medicines designed to combat viral infections such as Covid-19, has announced that it has made two senior appointments.

The appointments, who will play a critical role in ILC’s next stage of growth, include Dr Robert Boyd as the company’s new vice president of product development and Dr Dawn Firmin as head of technical operations.

Dr Boyd, who was previously the senior director of preclinical and project management at MiroBio, is a highly experienced and successful senior scientist who has progressed multiple immunomodulatory antibodies into clinical development.

Previously head of clinical operations and regulatory affairs for biopharmaceutical company EnteroBiotix Limited (EBX), Dr Firmin comes with 13 years of experience in managing all pre-clinical phases of the drug development process.

These appointments will significantly strengthen ILC’s capabilities across research, product development and clinical trials.

The company’s recent growth in senior leadership comes on the back of its £3.5 million pre-IPO fund raise towards the end of last year.

ILC’s lead hybrid interferon drug, known as Alfacyte™, is currently in development as an inhaled medicine for the treatment of respiratory viral infections (RVIs), including SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19. If successful, the drug has the potential to become a game changing antiviral treatment in the ongoing global fight against Covid-19, as well as viral infections like influenza, HIV, hepatitis and other major pathogens.

The company’s CEO, Dr Alan Walker, said: “ILC’s success story continues. The expertise of these new senior recruits will be integral to supercharging our capabilities, and with their support we look forward to embarking upon our next developmental phase which will include our next stage of clinical trials and continued research.”

The new team members adds to an expanding corporate structure at ILC Therapeutics.

Dr Walker added: “When it comes to fighting major viral infections, which continue to pose a major global healthcare threat, this hybrid interferon could be a real breakthrough in how we treat them. This is a pivotal time in not only ILC’s growth, but also in the discovery and development of this new class of synthetic interferon drugs.”

Earlier research carried out by ILC has confirmed that Alfacyte™ is 15 to 20 times more potent at inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19) in cell culture than other commercially-available interferons.

ILC’s hybrid interferons are designed by identifying selected favourable attributes of naturally occurring interferon subtypes and combining them together in a new class of novel hybrid interferons. The interferons are expected to provide enhanced efficacy and improved safety in comparison to their natural interferon subtypes.

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