Covidrops & Covinhaler – Indian startups rooting for nasal sprays and pocket Inhalers

Special purpose entities for developing nasal and inhaled drug products

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covidrops and covinhaler
A reference image of a Covid-19 nasal spray for illustration purpose. Photo prnewswire

As the Covid-19 therapeutics research landscape continues to evolve, novel vaccine and therapy formats are being developed worldwide to further an effective response against the virus. LaBelforte LLP, an Indian startup promoted by a Pune-based doctor, announced on Wednesday 19 January 2022, the launch of its special purpose business entities – Covidrops LLP and Covinhaler LLP to facilitate the development of immune optimizing nasal and inhaled drug products.

Nasal sprays & Pocket inhalers – Immunity without a needle

With the prevailing unpredictability around the possibility arises of new variants and the peculiar challenges faced by the present generation of vaccines, there is a growing consensus among a section of scientific fraternity towards adopting a multi-modal approach with an emphasis on establishing additional methods that can particularly be effective at reducing the virus transmission.

Dr Gaurav Raj Chhabra, founder, LaBelforte, India, said, “Company’s target is to primarily facilitate co-development of nasal sprays and pocket inhaler that are safe and effective ancillaries for both Covid-19 prophylaxis and therapy.”

The nose and oral cavity being the common points of entry for the virus, the drug products targeted at aptly engaging the local Immune response at these sites, can add a new dimension to the global response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Targeting Mucosal and Barrier Immune Optimization

“Our immediate attention is on Host-directed therapeutic options, that safely and efficiently optimize Mucosal and barrier immunity by potentiating body’s own immune system through Immunogenic gene expression,” says, Chhabra, who has been scrutinizing the International developments in the category for over 18 months now.

As a first-line barrier to viral entry and viral shedding, intranasal/ inhalation drug products bolstering mucosal Immunity may offer a remarkable advantage in the prevention and control of Covid-19.

Chhabra further points, “The chosen delivery formats are purposively flexible to be able to swiftly adapt to successive therapeutic formulations. This is all the more important because you are dealing with an actively progressive public health scenario.” Citing regulatory norms and NDA compliances, the company refused to disclose any further details on the candidates under consideration.

Scaling up as a Bootstrapped startup in India

On being asked how does the company intend to tap on necessary resources, V. Sanwale, co-founder and business development head at LaBelforte explains, “In the first phase, our focus primarily has been on developing suitable collaborations, globally, to scout for the most promising new candidates under research, explore repurposed drug approach and get the IP groundwork ready. Next, as we move forward, we might as well opt for strategic alliances in the mainline pharma industry for the smooth lab to market transitions.”

As per the forward-looking statement on the company’s website, once it goes through all the requisite regulatory approvals, and with competent Industry alliances in place, it plans to clear grounds for facilitating the launch of its flagship products through its special purpose entities- ‘Covidrops’ and ‘Covinhaler’ in India by the second quarter of 2022 and parallelly explore the International markets as well.

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