Atlas Advisors Australia through Stoic Venture Capital, and Uniseed, a venture fund operating at leading Australian universities, have increased stakes in Australian biotechnology company Ena Respiratory which is developing a potentially landmark preventive treatment for COVID-19.
Ena Respiratory has developed a nasal spray product INNA-051 which boosts the human innate immune system and could have the potential to fight multiple respiratory viral infections, including COVID-19, the common cold and influenza.
Atlas Advisors Australia, Stoic Venture Capital and commercialisation fund Uniseed have increased stakes in Ena Respiratory as part of a Series A extension round of $11.7 million. The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund managed by Brandon Capital is the lead investor.
Executive Chairman of Atlas Advisors Australia, Guy Hedley said the leading wealth manager was excited by the prospect that Ena Respiratory provided an effective treatment for COVID-19.
“A recently completed study led by British government agency Public Health England on ferrets showed that INNA-051 boosted the innate immune system response before infection and reduced virus replication by up to 96 per cent,” Mr Hedley said.
“While the world scrambles to find a vaccine, Ena Respiratory’s nasal spray could provide an important therapy to aid immunity and recovery from COVID-19, if it is found to work in humans.
“It could also assist in reducing the spread of this invidious disease.”
Atlas Advisors Australia plans to continue expanding its health portfolio assets including the acquisition of health-focused real estate assets.
Stoic Venture Capital Partner Dr Geoff Waring said nine of the total 17 companies in its fund were developing new drugs or medical devices.
Dr Waring said Stoic’s healthcare investments have potential to deliver similarly high returns in the longer-term compared to more popular sectors such as software.
Stoic Venture Capital is the Co-Investment Fund of Uniseed, a commercialisation fund which focuses on financing early-stage companies from university research.
“Ena Respiratory is an example of an Australian company building on medical research to provide a solution to a billion-dollar global health challenge,” Dr Waring said.